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Ethical Decision Making Process

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Because of rising health-care costs and the challenge to contain them, companies are trying to encourage employees to take better care of themselves, and some are even penalizing employees if they do not. One company, AstraZeneca, increased employees' health-insurance premium by $50 a month for each month they failed to complete an online health-risk assessment tool that asked for lifestyle details, then offered recommendations on ways live a healthier lifestyle. In 2006, an internal Wal-Mart Stores Inc. memo was leaked publicly that suggested that it cut its health-care costs by discouraging unhealthy people from applying for jobs. What do you think of businesses' attempts to decrease health care costs by helping employees to become healthier? What are the ethical issues associated with a firm's choice to cut health care costs by eliminating people who are unhealthy? What rights, duties, responsibilities, and consequences does this strategy imply? Do you think people who do not take care of themselves should be responsible for their increased healthcare costs? How would you feel personally if your past health conditions and current health practices were a part of an employment application?

Apply the ethical decision making process to this situation to determine whether this behavior is ethical or not. What about firms that refuse to hire smokers? Or overweight people? Remember that in the case of the overweight person, refusing to hire that individual could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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I applaud employers who attempt to decrease health care costs by helping employees become healthier by implementing health educations and activities in the organization. However, encouraging employees who are deemed unhealthy to resign or leave their jobs have ethical implications. Companies have to be careful in designing programs on how to decrease health care costs and take into consideration ethical behaviours. Otherwise, the companies might find themselves a ...

Solution Summary

This solution applies the ethical decision making process to a scenario.