Ethics in the Workplace

Introduction Discrimination is commonly defined to be the treatment of, or making a distinction in favor of or against a person, based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs, rather than on individual merit. The key issue in this question is: is discrimination against older workers, persons with same sex orientation, and persons with disabilities in the workplace ethical? To address the ethical issue above, it is very important to determine whether the attribute of the person being discriminated against, is Job-related.

In general, abrogated discrimination is regarded as ethical in nature. Although discrimination may have taken place, it is done for reasons relating to the duties and performance of the Job-in-question. For example, doctors who wish to practice in Singapore have to obtain medical registration with the Singapore Medical Council (SCM). In the absence of medical registration with SCM, it will be ethical to reject the candidate. However, the concept of ‘Job-relatedness’ can be very vague. Often, a clear relationship between the attribute, and the decision to fire, promote or hire cannot be recognized. . What is Job-related Criteria? A series of questions can be asked in a sequential order for an employer to conclude whether an attribute is Job-related with increasing certainty. Figure 1 . Questions to ask to determine ‘Job-relatedness’ Examining the duties expected of the employee provides a clearer picture than determining requirements on the Job. In the case of an air stewardess, one of their basic duties includes securing the overhead compartment. Consequently, the height requirement imposed upon applicants for the position of an air stewardess is derived from one of their basic duties.

Subsequently, the second question creates a erect link between the attribute in question and the duty itself. In the event that the attribute in question does affect performance on the duty, the third question becomes relevant. If 1 the impact can be quantified, the relationship between the attribute and the duty can be substantiated with greater certainty and objectivity. The fourth question examines other relevant factors, such as the materiality of the impact on Job performance: to what extent does the attribute in question affect the execution of the basic duties of the Job?

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It takes into account factors that are unique o each scenario, which could potentially validate decisions that go against the norm. At this point, it is relevant to consider the case of a worker who was fired after having an epileptic seizure while on the Job . He worked as a Janitor, and his basic duty was to maintain and clean the floor in buildings. When he had an epileptic seizure, he was unable to perform his Job for a day, and the impact can be objectively measured his disability on his Job performance is immaterial if his seizure occurs infrequently, for example once every six months.

It is highly probable that a regular employee falls sick every six months too. Since the epileptic worker is still able to carry out his cleaning duties most of the time, it is unethical for the employer to fire him after one epileptic seizure. 3. Discrimination based on non-Job related attributes Unethical to discriminate Generally, if discrimination was based on non-Job related attributes, it would be deemed as unethical as supported by Kantian and Rawlins Theories and Rule Utilitarianism.

Firstly, from a Kantian perspective, the maxim that: “it is permissible to discriminate against people based on criteria unrelated to the Job” would clearly contradict both categorical imperatives. Under the Principle of Universality, the maxim cannot be universalism, because everyone would begin to discriminate against each other, disrupting market forces, and society would not be able to function properly. The Principle of Humanity is also violated, because human dignity is not respected, and people are treated as a means and not an end.

Therefore, non-Job related discrimination is unethical, and people should be assessed and hired based on merit, and not on other factors unrelated to the ability to perform the Job. However, in the case of sexual orientation, Kong argues that people have a choice with aspect to their sexual orientation, and thus it cannot be considered part of their humanity. Consequently, discriminating against people with same-sex orientation would not violate the Humanity Principle under Kantian Theory. This contradicts with Wilkinson, who differentiates between sexual identity and sexual orientation. Cheep, D. (2011). Epileptic Worker Sues: Says Bosses Called His Seizure ‘Break Dancing,’ Then Fired Him. AOL Jobs. Retrieved September 12, 2013, from http://Jobs. AOL. Com/articles/2011108/26/epileptic-worker-sues-after-employer-made- fun-of-his-seizure/ 2 Too, E. 2013). Lawrence Kong: ‘There are no ex-Chinese, but there are ex- homosexuals’. Asinine Singapore. Retrieved September 18, 2013, from http:// news. Asinine. Com/news/Singapore/Lawrenceville-there-are-no-ex-Chinese-there- are-ex-homosexuals? Page=O,CO WiWilkinsonW. S. 2009). Is It a Choice? Sexual Orientation as Interpretation. Journal Of social Philosophy, 40(1), 97-116. 2 The latter is a feature of our existence and psychological makeup, while the former is one that a person is able to freely choose. deDebatableFurthermore, a person’s sexual orientation is not explicit since it cannot e seen outwardly. A clear distinction should therefore be made as to whether discrimination against these people are based on facts, or on one’s own subjective interpretations of a person’s effeminacy or appearance.

Clearly, discriminating against a person based on these assumptions rather than their actual sexual orientation would be considered more unethical. Secondly, under a RaRawlinspproach, whereby we adopt the Veil of Ignorance and return to the original position, the least advantaged would prefer to live in a memeritocracyociety under the Difference Principle. Everyone should also be given a air chance to be considered for the Job under the Principle of Fair Equality of Opportunity. Therefore, it would also be unethical to discriminate based on non-Job related criteria.

Lastly, utilitarianism which is based on consequences and outcomes, seeks to provide the greatest happiness for the greatest number. If employers discriminate based on non-Job related criteria, in the long run, there will be inefficiency, and societal welfare will not be maximized. The best person for the Job might also not be hired. Therefore, under Rule Utilitarianism, non-Job related discrimination would be considered neunethicalbecause it does not lead to the greatest happiness. iiIiEthical to discriminate However, we recognize that the general framework is not applicable to all situations and exceptions exist, where the attribute is not Job-related but it can be ethical to discriminate against the worker In certain circumstances, it might be ethical to discriminate against the aged and disabled in their remuneration even if their age or disability is not Job-related. There is a distinction for older and disabled workers because employing them can bring about extra costs to the employer, such as the cost of adding amenities to facilitate heir movement in the company for the latter.

This can be supported by the veil of ignorance, which states that by taking the original position, one may be the employer or the worker. Thus, as a worker, one would not want to be discriminated against. But we have to consider the perspective of the employer who has to bear the extra costs. Taking both perspectives into consideration, it can be ethical to employ older and disabled workers at a lower pay relative to market rate. Another ethical theory that supports this is act utilitarianism. For example, a small ommanyay not have the resources to build infrastructure to support disabled workers and pay these workers at market rate.

The cost can become unsustainable in the long run. Paying these workers at a lower rate helps provide them employment, and at the same time reduces the company’s costs, leading to greater happiness for a greater number of people in society. 3 4. Conclusion and persons with disabilities should be prohibited in the organization when the attribute in question is unrelated to the Job, or its impact is immaterial. Not doing so violates the principle of equality of opportunity and disrespects human dignity. In addition, costs to society can be substantial when discrimination results in the best person not hired for the Job.

People should be assessed and hired based on merit, not on factors unrelated to the ability to perform the Job. It is important that an organization engages in Just and merit-based employment practices, as this is crucial in retaining talent. Cultivating such practices can boost staff morale and loyalty, build their reputation as a fair employer and strengthen their company brbrandsHowever, discrimination against older and disabled workers in terms of their remuneration can lsalsoe Justifiable because of the potential additional costs, which cannot be sustained in the long run. Performing a balancing act. (n. d.D). The GMIGMProup. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from http://www. gmSemisecretcoComdPDFC/EmEmbracingFairEmploymentPracticesasAspsuestion 1 1 The key issue revolves around whether racial or religious discrimination may be ethical to satisfy the customer’s needs. Question 11 brings in additional factors for an employer to consider in the workplace: the presence of customer preferences (or didisdainfuln this case) and the implicit consequence on the company’s profitability. The employer is assumed to be a neutral party and does not have a discriminatory nature.

In particular, the two attributes of interest are race and religion. 1. Factors to Consider Job-related When considering whether to hire a candidate or not based on race or religion, an employer should first go through the questions to ask in Figure 1, to determine if the attribute is Job-related. This is based on the Decision Making Framework and Ethical Theories as discussed in QIIQ. Degree of animosity However, as mentioned earlier, the additional presence of customer preferences eggets second factor to consider: the degree of animosity that customers have towards “XYEX.thnic group or religion”.

Let us consider a spectrum of the degree of animosity that customers have towards members of a particular race or religion. On They are prone to acting upon their discrimination by hurting a Hispanic employee through public violence. By hiring the Hispanic, this would be placing the employee and his or her colleagues in direct harm, driving up insurance and hospital costs. If placed in a commercial shop, the property could be damaged as well. Customers ouloudlso refuse to papatronizehe company. If they were large clientele, profitability would be affected and the company may face bankruptcy.

Under Act Utilitarianism, in hiring the Hispanic, overall happiness of the consequences would likely be negative. It would then be ethical not to hire the candidate. One such real life example is that of America’s notorious KuUKlux Klan. On the other hand, if customers had only slight didisdainfulowards Hispanics and were willing to still papatronizehe company despite the presence of a Hispanic employee, bankruptcy will not occur, cesistersaParamusThe Hispanic community would not experience feelings of discontent and overall happiness is mamaximizedUnder Act Utilitarianism, it would then be unethical not to hire the candidate.

The balance would then be to look at the extent of customer backlash and act appropriately. If business can progress sufficiently, the employer should not discriminate, even if it may result in the loss of a handful of customers. However, we rerecognizehat customers’ perception of race and religion may differ greatly and affect their bebehaviorowards the employee. The next section explores further. 5 2. Distinguishing between race and religion Before applying the various ethical theories, it is important to identify the difference in race and religion as such differences could lead to varying ethical conclusions.

Race differs from religion in that the race of an employee is visible through physical traits such as skin cocolornd language, unlike that of religion which is seldom observable. In addition, while it is clear that one’s race cannot be changed, some people might argue that one’s religion can be changed. Race Given that one’s race cannot be changed and is physically obobviousbased on Kantian, RaRawlinsnd Rule Utilitarianism (as in Q1Q racial discrimination on noenjoyelated grounds would be unethical.

However as mentioned above, it is important to determine the degree of animosity of the customer’s hate for the race in question, as a high degree of animosity could incur great costs to the company. Based on RaRailing’seil of Ignorance where one can be placed in the position of the company, one might be inclined not to hire the candidate despite race being a non-Job related attribute. Religion Religious discrimination on the basis of non-Job related criteria on the other hand igeightot be as “clear-cut” as that of racial discrimination in terms of its ununethicallyOne possible argument could be as follows: 1.

Religion is a belief, and beliefs can be changed 2. Religion can thus be changed 4. Hence, religion is not considered a part of “human dignity’ Based on point 4, KaGentian’srinciple of humanity would not be applicable as religious discrimination would not be considered unethical. However, the issue at hand should not be whether beliefs could be changed but that each person should have a right to hold his/her own beliefs (as long it does not harm noanotherarty). This ‘right’ is part of one’s freedom of choice and should be considered a part of human dignity as free will is a key attribute in the respect of human dignity.