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Ethics in Business

A)Describe the factors that permit an employer to deny responsibility for workplace accidents. Under what circumstance is an employer´s liability limited but not alleviated?

B)Discuss how the Utilitarian arguments, Kantian arguments, and justice arguments address the problem of discrimination. What features do the different approaches have in common?

C)Identify and discuss some undesirable potential consequences of affirmative action.

D)If the assumption of risk is thought to be voluntary, what difficulty does that pose for government oversight of hazardous work?

E)What is the loyal agent argument against whistle-blowing? Why might loyalty not prohibit whistle-blowing.

F)What is whistle-blowing? Why it be considered ethically problematic? Why might it be morally justified?

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Excellent questions! Let's take a closer look.


A) Describe the factors that permit an employer to deny responsibility for workplace accidents.

If a person has been injured in a workplace accident, her or his employer may deny responsibility for the claim for a number of factors, such as the your injury was the employee's fault, it did not happen at work, it isn't really a serious injury that needs medical care or it was a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered by compensation, either, unless aggravated at work (http://www.fennerandboles.com/CM/FSDP/PracticeCenter/Personal-Injury/Workers-Compensation.asp).

Workers' compensation is sometimes viewed as a compromise between employees and employers: workers give up the right to sue for large awards in court in exchange for certain and timely, albeit relatively lower, reimbursement for work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers accept responsibility for these injuries and illnesses even if they are not at fault, but they no longer have to worry about being tied up in court and potentially liable for large verdicts.

Pre-existing conditions are generally not covered unless aggravated at work.
See http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Employers'+liability

ii) Under what circumstance is an employer´s liability limited but not alleviated?

Legally, vicarious liability covers situations like this. For example, it is the TORT doctrine that imposes responsibility upon one person for the failure of another, with whom the person has a special relationship (such as employer and employee) to exercise such care as a reasonably prudent person would use under similar circumstances. Specifically, vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that assigns liability for an injury to a person who did not cause the injury but who has a particular legal relationship to the person who did act negligently. It is also referred to as imputed Negligence. Legal relationships that can lead to imputed negligence include the relationship between parent and child, Husband and Wife, owner of a vehicle and driver, and employer and employee. Ordinarily the independent negligence of one person is not imputable to another person (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Vicarious+Liability).

Conversely, "The doctrine of respondent superior (Latin for "let the master answer") is based on the employer-employee relationship. The doctrine makes the employer responsible for a lack of care on the part of an employee in relation to those to whom the employer owes a duty of care. For respondent superior to apply, the employee's negligence must occur within the scope of her employment. The employer is charged with legal responsibility for the negligence of the employee because the employee is held to be an agent of the employer. If a negligent act is committed by an employee acting within the general scope of her or his employment, the employer will be held liable for damages. For example, if the driver of a gasoline delivery truck runs a red light on the way to a gas station and strikes another car, causing ...

Solution Summary

In reference to specific ethical questions, this solution discusses liability in the workplace, ethical theories (Utilitarian, Kantian and justice arguments) that deal effectively with discrimination in the workplace, as well as the consequences of affirmative action and whistle-blowing.