Business Law Chapter 04 Homework Productivity Longevity Special Needs Often Decisions About

subject Type Homework Help
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subject Authors Dean Bredeson

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UNIT 4: Workplace Ethics: Treatment of
Unit Background/Author Perspective
Module 20: Weight Discrimination
Module 21: Extreme Hours
Module 22: Layoffs in Good Economic Times
Module 23: Workplace Diversity
Module 24: No Compete Agreements and Arbitration Clauses
Module 25: Layoffs and Health Care
Unit Background/Author Perspective
American workers are substantially better off than they were 100 years ago.
They have many rights that have been created by modern laws and court decisions. Many kinds
of discrimination are not legal. Workplace safety laws are numerous. Companies must allow for
medical leaves of absence in many circumstances.
But there are also many gaps in worker protection law. In the end, most workers are
employees at will, which means that they can be treated in any way that is not specifically legally
And so, for example, companies cannot discriminate based on race because a specific law
(the Civil Rights Act) prohibits the practice. But companies can often discriminate against an
obese worker because the Civil Rights Act and similar laws fail to require them to act differently.
Two of the modules in this unit examine discrimination issues where the law does not require or
prohibit action.
Other modules examine many other common practices that are legal but that may
nonetheless be unethical. Requiring employees to work long hours, sign covenants not to
compete, and sign arbitration clauses are among the topics presented.
We will also look at layoffs. Sometimes, corporations must let workers go in order to
survive, but how should the terminations be handled? What kinds of factors ought to be
considered? Productivity? Longevity? Special needs? Often decisions about retaining employees
are quite complicated.
Employment decisions frequently allow for many legal possibilities, and the trick is often
selecting the best and most ethical choice.
Unit Core Ethical Issues
Weight discrimination is generally legal, but is it ethical?
Many professionals work very long hours. Some people argue that extreme hours
have negative effects on workers and their families, and the law ought to change
to perhaps not prevent, but at least discourage, extreme workweeks. Is there
merit to this point of view?
Are large numbers of layoffs reasonable if a company is operating successfully?
Countless major companies have adopted diversity policies in recent decades.
Such policies are usually legally allowed but not legally required. In what
circumstances are they most and least justified?
Are no compete agreements reasonable?
Are arbitration clauses reasonable?
If a company will cut workers, are health care needs a valid consideration? What
if a particular worker has unusual health care requirements that cannot be met if
he loses his company-sponsored health insurance?

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