Business Ethics and Public Policy | Homework Help
Business Ethics and Public Policy
I. Chemicos Drug-Testing Policy
Chemico is a private manufacturing company, which produces raw materials for the production of substances such as nitric acid, sulfuric acid, nitroglycerine-based explosives, and blasting powder among others. The nature of its products requires employees to follow all its safety procedures to the latter. Violation of these procedures could lead to loss of lives and the companys property. According to the company, most industrial accidents in the United States result from employees with drug-related problems. As a result, it implemented a drug-testing program late in 1994. The aim of the program was to identify and take the necessary action against employees on drugs.
According to Chemicos drug-testing policy, testing would be performed under the following conditions. Firstly, a new job candidate would be tested as part of pre-employment physical inspection. Secondly, testing would be carried out on any employee with abrupt, inexplicable, and persistent deterioration in job performance. Thirdly, testing would be performed on employees involved in an accident or found to have overstepped a publicized safety measure. Finally, periodic, random company-wide employee testing would be performed under the companys physical inspection exercise.
Job applicants were informed about the drug-testing procedures through a written notice in the application form and verbally during the initial job interview. Employees were informed three months before the drug-testing requirement was implemented. Job applicants, who tested positive, were not considered for employment. Workers with positive test results were put on a six-week leave of absence before being retested, after which those, who tested positive, were fired. The drug-testing was carried out on urine samples using the Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) process. To ensure credibility, the samples were collected in the presence of either a lab technician or a nurse.
II. Cases against Chemicos Drug-Testing Policy
Chemicos Female employee case. The periodic, random testing procedure was mandatory for all employees within the organization. Their names were randomly selected using a computer, and testing performed under the companys physical inspection exercise. According to the company, the random selection process is undoubtedly fair to all its employees. However, there are many arguments that come up from the process. The female employee complained that the process selects employees without any suspicion that they are drug users, and thus, may select those who are not users. Testing an employee without realistic suspicion that he or she is a drug user can do him or her psychological damage if the results turn out to be negative. Moreover, the random testing procedure may leave out those who are drug users. The process would be fair if all the workers would be tested at the same time as this would not subject any of them to psychological disturbance. Therefore, the random testing procedure is unethical.
The female employee also complained that the process of collecting urine samples in the presence of a witness was inappropriate. However, the process is subjected to all employees, and thus, it is ethical. Moreover, collecting urine samples in the presence of a witness is justified. Individuals on drugs might tamper with the urine samples if they would be allowed to collect them on their own.
Employee E2s Case. Employee E2 was tested after he significantly declined in his job performance and increased his absenteeism rate. However, he claimed that the test was unfair since the abovementioned problems were as a result of his commitment to assisting his teenage son who was aIDicted to cocaine and alcohol. Furthermore, E2 claimed that it was inappropriate to test him under those circumstances. The process affected his ability to influence and correct his sons actions.
Chemicos drug-testing policy is publicly carried out, and the results can be accessed by other people. It is true that the policy may help protect life and the companys property. However, the manner in which the testing is carried out is unethical. Publicly testing and releasing the results of an employee may subject him or her to criticism from fellow employees, his or her family, and the community. This is an intrusion upon the privacy of employees and may subject them to psychological problems. It would be ethical if the drug-testing policy would be carried out in a way that protects an individuals privacy. Drug use is one of the factors that may cause workers to decline their job performance or regularly be absent from work. Therefore, carrying out drug testing as a precautionary measure is ethical. What is unethical in E2s case is exposing the drug testing information to everyone, including E2s son.
Two Chemico Employees Case. The argument of the two Chemico employees is on the credibility Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) testing process. They claim that the process produces incredible results, which cannot be relied on. Although the testing process was carried out twice, the employees claim that the false positive result was replicated when the test was repeated. Furthermore, they claim that the company would have applied different testing methods, such as Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), in order to increase the credibility of the results.
It is not ethical for Chemico to deny this argument and move forward with the termination. The company acknowledges that sometimes, the first test can turn positive and the second test negative, or vice versa. This means that the Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA) is not consistent and can produce flawed results, which are not reliable. Different tests should be carried out, and both should turn out either positive of negative for the results to be credible.
III. Analysis of the Employee Privacy Rights Case
Cristy Nicole Deweese playboy story happened when she was still in college. She had posed nude for playboys pictures and videos, and simulated lesbian sex with another co-ed. This was not an illegal activity, and it is unfortunate that her students got access to her nude playboy photos and videos. Therefore, it was unethical to fire her from Rosie M. Collins Sorrells High School.
On the other hand, Cristy posed nude in the playboy and allowed these pictures to go online despite her ambitions to become a teacher in the future. Although the activity was not illegal, the action might have violated the Educators Code of Ethics. The story created a lot of attention not only from her students but also on the national level, and this would affect her reputation as an educator. Therefore, firing her was ethical.
Based on the above two arguments, it was ethical to fire Cristy from Rosie M. Collins Sorrells High School. Teachers are role models, and their code of conduct should be exceptional so as to create a good example for their students. Cristys playboy nude photos and videos would distract her students, especially male students. That is why some male students of hers, who went to playboys online site, bragged to other male students in the high school that she was their teacher.
IV. Pre-Employment Screening in California
Employers in California are allowed to perform pre-employment background checks up to set legal limits. They must first request for permission from the employee before performing the check. The law allows employers to perform a check of the following aspects of an employees background: character references, court records, credit reports and bankruptcy, criminal and incarnation records, driving records and vehicle registration, military service, social security number, workers compensation records, drug test records, sex-offender lists, and the social media (Carrigan 12).
Character references involve understanding more about an employees personality outside his or her style of work and accomplishments. Checking of court records seeks to discover if a worker has any arrest record or has been involved in any court cases. Credit reports and bankruptcy are used to measure the level of an employees responsibility. The driving records and vehicle registration screening is performed on individuals seeking a job that involves transportation of transportation of products or clients. The social security number is used to determine the eligibility of a person to work in the United States. The other background checks are performed to assess the eligibility of an employee to a certain job.
There is a limit to the information that can be sought by employers. They are not allowed to check an employees medical records. They can only seek to know whether the employee can carry out certain job duties. Under the Family Education Rights and privacy, an educational institution can only reveal educational records to the individual who studied in that institution (Carrigan 21).
There are some background checks that are discriminatory while others are not. For instance, credit checks are unethical because some personal credit history may contain information that does not relate financial dishonesty. Thus, using the information as the basis for employment would be unethical. Employers should not request for information beyond that which is required by law.
Carrigan, Martin. Pre-Employment Testing-Prediction of Employee Success and Legal Issues: A Revisitation of Griggs V. Duke Power. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 5. 8 (2011).