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Nondiscriminatory vs. Discriminatory Hiring Practices

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Read the case study entitled "Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio" on page 393-394 of your text.

Based on this case, propose new hiring practices for the company to follow. In your proposal, be sure to address the following:

- Do you feel the current hiring practices are discriminatory? Why or why not? What policies should be adopted?

- Is there a correlation between the hiring practices for cannery workers and noncannery workers? Should the practices be the same or separate, even though the positions are different?

- Is it an acceptable practice for the cannery to rehire skilled noncannery workers it has worked with previously? Is it acceptable even if the noncannery workers are predominantly white?

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Solution Preview

First of all, let's consider what ethics is all about. As a branch of philosophy, ethics is about morality. The only question is, whose morality? When we consider ethics, we must consider right behaviour. If we look at a system of morality that just about every rationale individual on the earth would tend to agree with, I think we could choose something quite simple. Richard Maybury put it well. He calls it The Two Laws.

1. Do not encroach on other persons or their property
2. Do all that you have agreed to do

These two great laws of society underpin ethical behaviour. So, in a sense, ethical behaviour is all about the "Golden Rule" -- doing to others what you would want them to do to you.

This is an interesting case and clearly the decisions of the court justices proved how different opinions can come out of this case.

Since we have to develop a new hiring practice, let's work towards achieving one by first answering the three questions you have posed.

1. Do you feel the current hiring practices are discriminatory? Why or why not? What policies should be adopted?

First of all, the question of qualifications hasn't been addressed. One cannot speak of discrimination until one has assessed ...

Solution Summary

In this solution, I outline two fundamental and important principles to consider when evaluating employment and hiring policies. It is important to consider what we mean by "ethical behaviour." After outlining these principles, I take a careful look at the hiring practices of Wards Cove Packing. In conclusion, I propose a sound and just simple policy that Wards (and other companies) could use to avoid hiring discrimination.

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