David Tuff was a 24-year-old security guard at Villlage Square Mall in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mall is managed and operated by Blue Mountain Company, which also has a security services division that trains and supplies security guards to several shopping malls in some Midwestern states. Tuff strongly opposed Blue Mountain’s new company policy to order and escort intoxicated persons (including drunk drivers) off its parking lots and onto the public roads. He feared that drunk drivers might harm innocent people and that doing so would jeopardize his license, as he was required by law to report any illegal behaviour (drunk driving) to the local police department. He reported this policy to the media and was subsequently fired due to violation of the company rule prohibiting employees from approaching the news media. He brought his case to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), but they determined that Blue Mountain was within legal rights to fire him. The parties’ moral behaviour did not have any bearing on the NLRB’s decision (Pinedo and Beauchamp 197-200).
Sara Strong was an MBA graduated of UCLA who was quickly promoted at her job in the Security Bank of the American Continent. When she was assigned to the bank’s office in Mexico City, she discovered that male clients were reluctant to accept her authority, and they often bypassed her in important matters. Her boss, William Vitam, was complacent with the solicitous attitude male clients treated Sara. Vitam also patronized her in front of Mexican clients but treated her with respect around Americans. Sara complained to Vitam that she felt her role in the bank was demeaning but Vitam only said that that was just how it is in Latin America. Even after voicing her concerns to her mentor Tom Fried, who was an executive vice president, she was only told to soldier on even though things may seem unfair to her. Sara became quite unhappy with her job thereafter and was noted to have “the beginnings of a negative attitude about the bank and its policies” (Dunfee and Robertson 585-586)
The company H. B. Fuller owns the foreign subsidiary Kativo Chemical Industries, which produces a solvent-based adhesive (glue) sold under the brand name Resistol. The glue is primarily used in small shoe repair shops in several countries of Latin America. In 1985, H. B. Fuller was made aware that in the Central American country of Honduras, street children (called “Resistoleros” by the press) were sniffing their glue due to extreme poverty and most probably to stave off hunger. H. B. Fuller prides itself in being a socially responsible company, having good employee relations policies and donating 5% of their pretax profits to charity. The company initially responded to the issue by requesting to the press to not use the term “Resistolero” to refer to a glue-sniffing child. They also persuaded Honduran legislature not to mandate the addition of oil of mustard, a carcinogenic substance, to their glue. The dilemma of the company is how to respond to the issue, given their policy of local responsibility (Bowie 125-127).
Some 1800 workers producing bomb materials from uranium dust in the 750-acre Paduca Gaseous Diffusion Plant owned by the U.S. government were exposed to plutonium and other radioactive materials in 1999. Radioactive substances also contaminated wildlife areas and private wells; moreover, some were deliberately dumped into landfills and nearby fields. Union Carbide managed the plant for 32 years, during which time most of the pollution occurred. Tests revealed that up to half a mile from the plant, plutonium levels were more than 20 times the maximum acceptable limit. Workers were told that the amount of plutonium was insignificant to cause any problems. Not knowing the health risks of exposure, workers did not wear sufficient protection in their workplace. The Clinton administration announced in September 1999 that workers exposed to radiation would be compensated. Also, the Department of Energy announced that it would spend $21.8 million dollars in cleaning up the environment in the region (Beauchanp 195).
Gao Feng, a devout Christian, was arrested in May 1994 in Beijing, China, for planning a private worship service and candlelight vigil in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Gao was an employee of Beijing Jeep, a joint venture between Chrysler and the Chinese government. He went back to work after being imprisoned for over a month. He was fired by Chrysler due to poor absence on the basis of a police note given to Gao that stated he was detained only for three days. Chrysler was pressured by the Chinese government to fire Gao and sought to protect the multimillion-dollar investments of the venture. Human rights activists fought for Gao’s case and he was reinstated in his old job. However, when publicity surrounding his case subsided, he was again arrested and sent to a labor camp. He was released in 1998 following the highly publicized visit of a group of clergy appointed by President Clinton to investigate religious freedom in China (587-589).
Nancy Smith was the Director of Medical Research of major pharmaceutical company that was then developing loperamide, a liquid treatment for acute and chronic diarrhea, to be used by persons unable to take solid medication. The formula contained saccharin at levels more than 44 times the amount the Food and Drug Administration permitted for 12 ounces of an artificially sweetened soft drink. As there were no promulgated standards for the use of saccharin in drugs, the company pressured the research team to proceed with the existing formula, despite unanimous agreement of the members that it was unsuitable for distribution in the United States. Dr. Smith objected because saccharin was possibly carcinogenic. She did not participate in the clinical trials because she said it goes against the Hippocratic Oath of doctors. She was demoted and humiliated by the company. She then resigned because she believed she was being punished for refusing to do a task she deemed unethical (Bowie 200-201).
Beauchamp, T. "Exposing Workers to Plutonium." Rpt. in insert book details here
Bowie, N. "A Matter of Principle." Based on Pierce v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation. Superior Court of New Jersey, 1979. Rpt. in insert book details here
Bowie, N. "H. B. Fuller in Honduras: Street Children & Substance Abuse." Rpt. in insert book details here
Dunfee, T. and D. Robertson. "Foreign Assignment." Rpt. in insert book details here
Pinedo, A. and T. Beauchamp. "The Reluctant Security Guard." Rpt. in insert book details here
Santoro, M. "Chrysler and Gao Feng: Corporate Responsibility for Religious and Political Freedom in China." Rpt. in insert book details here