A real-life moral problem in business

Question

This is a paper for my Theology class: Moral Problem: Business Issues.

TOPIC
A real-life moral problem in business.

OBJECTIVES
1. RESEARCH current business issues in academic sources
2. IDENTIFY moral problems underlying economic problems
3. LINK business issues and ethics

GENERAL GUIDELINES
• At least two full pages in length (not counting works cited page or optional title page)
• Double spaced
• Standard margins and font size
• Correct MLA format for citation of sources in the text of the paper and in the Works Cited List at the end of the paper

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES
1. Choose a real, not hypothetical, moral problem that confronts the business world today. Possible topics include:
 The mortgage crisis§
The global financial “meltdown”§
 An environmental disaster (e.g., the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, etc.)§
 Insider trading§
 Discrimination at work (gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, religion, etc.)§
 Sexual harassment in the workplace§
 High-interest rates, payday loans, etc.§
 A recent business scandal (e.g., Madoff, etc.)§
 Outsourcing jobs overseas§
 Poverty in the United States§
 Internet or e-mail usage at work§
 Surveillance of employees and the right to privacy§
 Recalling defective or dangerous products§
Hiring illegal immigrants

2. Read three or more recent (2008-2010) scholarly sources (e.g., journal articles, newspapers, etc.) about the topic. For a better grade, use more scholarly sources. Academic sources include:
• Newspapers (e.g., Chicago Tribune, New York Times)
• Journals (e.g., Newsweek, Christian Century, Business Ethics Quarterly, etc.)
• You may use library databases for access to these articles
o Go to the library homepage: http://libraries.luc.edu/
o Search for the following databases listed under: Find Databases by Title:
-Business Source Premier (business issues, probably the best)
-Lexis/Nexis (current newspaper articles)
-Academic Search Premier (general)
-ATLA (theology and religion)
o PDF files of the article are better than the HTML version
o Make sure that you copy the citation information and put it in MLA format.

Answer

Instructor’s Name:

Course Code and Name:

University:

Date Assignment is due:

Contents

A description of the problem of sexual harassment. 3

What makes this a question of right or wrong? How does this affect people or the environment in a negative way?  5

Works Cited. 6

A description of the problem of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a moral issue that is of exceptionally high unethical intensity. However, as O’Leary-Kelly & Bowes-Sperry points out, the offenders may not recognize all the moral aspects of this behavior (73). In the United States, the first case of sexual harassment to reach the country’s Supreme Court was in 1986. The case was titled Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson.

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Today, there are as many men as women in the labor force, unlike at the start of the past century when men dominated all as aspects of labor. As women continue to upset the status quo by taking up jobs that were previously considered the men’s reserve, many moral issues keep emerging in the workplace. Sexual harassment is one of these issues. The emphasis here is put on women only because they have traditionally been a sidelined group as far as labor issues are concerned; Otherwise, sexual harassment affects both men and women. O’Leary-Kelly & Bowes-Sperry indicates that sexual harassment is the greatest moral hurdle that is being faced at the workplace today (76).

Although it is extraordinarily widespread, sexual harassment is sometimes indistinguishable from social or sexual exchanges. What one person perceives to be sexual harassment may not be perceived as such by the other. This is where the main problem lies. Today, according to O’Leary-Kelly & Bowes-Sperry, the most widely used definition of sexual harassment is offered by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) (79). EEOC defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual favors, sexual advances and physical conduct that are of a sexual nature. The definition goes on to describe conditions under which these actions constitute sexual harassment, such as the role of the harassment outcome in the execution of employment decisions.

            In any case, sexual pressure is always uninvited; and it is an extremely serious issue that managers in both private and private management settings need to address extremely cautiously. Li-Ping Tang &Mccollum indicates that, Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Supreme Court acknowledged the need for offensive environment claims to be awarded in reference to Title VII (19).

            Baxte& Hermlestatethe’s foundation of all lawsuits is sex discrimination as outlined in Title VII (The Civil Rights Act of 1964) (12). Normally, the sexual harassment complaint includes the ‘tort’ claims of the common law as well as sex discrimination claims. This provides an allowance for the economic prospects of damages that arise from ‘pain and suffering’, as well as punitive damages. One of the most complex issues in sexual harassment cases is the actual extent to which an employer is held liable for the harassment of the organization’s employees. However, this depends on various legal and factual issues.

            The Supreme Court has, severally, confirmed that employers may substantially reduce the level of liability whenever sexual harassment offenses are committed during intelligent practices. A critical precautionary step for employers to take is to educate everyone in the workplace about the problems that can arise as a result of sexual harassment.

What makes this a question of right or wrong? How does this affect people or the environment in a negative way?

            Sexual harassment is wrong because sexual advances are unwelcome and limit one’s freedom in the workplace. This behavior negatively affects employees’ morale especially when the progress or outcomes of such acts of harassment form the basis of performance evaluation.

            Some people tend to endure sexual harassment in order to be offered employment. When this happens, other candidates who may be more qualified for the job are left out. Additionally, the employee may find it difficult to resist sexual harassment in the future for fear of losing his or her job.

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            Whenever an individual’s sex-role takes precedence over his/her utility as a worker, moral issues emerge. Sexual harassment is always unsolicited and nonreciprocal. Therefore, it leads to sexual pressure, something that is morally unacceptable. When such behaviors are perpetuated by senior managers in an organization, the same behaviors can easily spread down the ranks to line supervisors and finally to everyone in the organization. Weeding such an immoral cultural practice in an organization may be an extremely difficult undertaking.

            When aggrieved employees finally choose to file lawsuits in court, the reputation of the institution or individual being sued is tarnished. Rebuilding a reputation that has been damaged in this way may be one of the most difficult things an individual or institution can ever do. For the complainant, the whole experience can be traumatic, both before and after it comes out into the public through the lawsuit proceedings.

In conclusion, sexual harassment in the workplace is;it causes untold harm to the victim’s self-esteem, moral, emotional and psychological composure. The behavior is exacerbated by the fact that sometimes offenders see nothing wrong with it. Strict laws need to be put in place in order to punish offenders, both in the workplace and elsewhere. It is also necessary for employees to be educated on what constitutes sexual harassment as well as its repercussions to both the organization and the offender.

Works Cited

Baxter, Ralph &Hermle, Lynne. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, New York: Executive Enterprises Publications Co. Inc., 1989.

Li-Ping Tang, Thomas &Mccollum, Stacie. “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” Public Personnel Management, 25.1 (1996): 16-70

O’Leary-Kelly, Anne & Bowes-Sperry, Lynn “Sexual harassment as unethical behavior: the role of moral intensity” Human Resource Management Review, 11.1-2 (2001): 73-92

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