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Business Law Chapter 20 Homework Recap The Five Companies Clothing Store That

Page Count
4 pages
Word Count
874 words
Book Title
Applied Business Ethics: A Skills-Based Approach 1st Edition
Authors
Dean Bredeson
MODULE 20: Weight Discrimination
Core Module Issues:
Is it ever acceptable to discriminate on the basis of weight?
If so, under what circumstances?
Are distinctions based on weight equally acceptable/unacceptable when
they impact customers and employees?
Module Teaching Notes
This module starts a new unit on reasonable treatment of employees. Like almost everything else
in the book, the scenarios present “gray area” situations in which companies act legally but,
perhaps, unethically.
With this first module, I lecture for more time than usual before discussing the scenario. The basic
points I make are:
1. Before 1964, private companies could discriminate against workers in essentially any way they
wanted to, because there were no statutes that prohibited workplace discrimination based on race,
gender, etc.
If you wish, you can present more on the history of discrimination, the fight for the Civil Rights Act
and the Civil Rights Movement, etc.
2. Starting in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act, Congress started prohibiting select types of workplace
discrimination.
3. Even today, only 7 specific types of workplace discrimination are illegal under federal law: race
4. Even today, other types of discrimination remain completely legal. Perhaps they are immoral,
but they are not illegal. Weight discrimination is one of the types of discrimination that has not
been banned by the government, and so companies can generally act without fear of losing in
court.
From this point, you may wish to go into some detail about the obesity epidemic. The numbers
seem to me to change almost annually, but at the time of this writing, American adults are about
1/3 “obese”, 1/3 “overweight”, and 1/3 neither. Current projections anticipate 85-90% in the first
two categories by 2040. And so, every company must make decisions regarding overweight
customers and employees. The scenario presents several situations that should help to spark
debate about the best courses of action.
Discussion Points for Scenario Questions
1. Assume that businesses #1 and #2 adopt the policies under consideration. Rate the decisions.
Completely Unacceptable ---------------------Entirely Reasonable
Business #1: 1 --- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7
Business #2: 1 --- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7
Recap the five companies:
1. Clothing store that may stop selling larger sizes
3. Assembly line that may turn away heavier workers
5. Coffee shop that may reject overweight worker
[THIS QUESTION IS NOT DIRECTLY FOR CLASS DISCUSSION, BUT DO
GIVE THE CLASS A MIUTE OR SO TO MAKE RANKINGS IF THEY HAVE
NOT DONE SO ALREADY.]
2. Now, assess the actions of the three companies that adopted policies in hiring.
Completely Unacceptable --------------------- Entirely Reasonable
Business #3 1 --- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7
Business #4 1 --- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7
Business #5 1 --- 2 --- 3 --- 4 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7
[THIS QUESTION IS NOT DIRECTLY FOR CLASS DISCUSSION, BUT DO
GIVE THE CLASS A MIUTE OR SO TO MAKE RANKINGS IF THEY HAVE
NOT DONE SO ALREADY.]
3. Which two of the five policies did you rank highest? What specific facts made them more
acceptable to you than the others?
[GET A GOOD CROSS SECTION OF COMMENTS. I FIND THAT STUDENTS
WILL OFTEN DEBATE EACH OTHER ON THIS QUESTION. JUST GUIDE
THE CONVERSATION, AND MOSTLY GET OUT OF THE WAY SO LONG AS
EVERYONE IS ARGUING RESPECTFULLY.]
4. Which two of the five policies did you rank lowest? What specific facts made them more
acceptable to you than the others?
A. SAME COMMENT HERE. GUIDE THE CONVERSATION, AND LET THE
GROUP WORK TOWARDS A CONSENSUS.
B. AS AN ADDED QUESTION, YOU MAY WANT TO ASK: IF YOU WERE IN
CHARGE OF MAKING THE FIVE DECISIONS PRESENTED HERE, HOW MAY
OF THEM WOULD YOU MAKE IN A WAY THAT WAS UNFAVORABLE TO
THE OVERWEIGHT EMPLOYEES/CUSTOMERS?
5. The original Civil Rights Act was passed to protect the rights of minority groups.
Interestingly, a law banning weight discrimination would protect a significant majority of people.
Would you favor such a law? If so, would it be more important for the law to protect consumers
or workers?
A. CONSUMERS? WHY?
B. WORKERS? WHY?

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