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Employee Rights

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1. How far should a company go to respect the rights and moral dignity of its employees? What steps can a company take to do this?

2. What positive benefits could follow from a company's willingness to tolerate employee questions and criticisms about its actions and policies? How might a company best promote constructive discussion of these issues, especially as they relate to employee welfare?

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1. How far should a company go to respect the rights and moral dignity of its employees? What steps can a company take to do this?
While I feel it's important for a company to respect the rights of others, I also believe that companies shouldn't have their hands tied or be criticized for having rules and requirements. For example, if a company wants to establish a dress code (nice attire, etc.) they should be able to define that. Unfortunately we are in a day and age where it is necessary to spell out everything. So, if you are the company and you want to maintain a professional image, you should be able to require that no bulky jewelry, no jeans, no skirts more than 1" above the knees, bras must be worn, no tank tops with sleeves narrower than 2", etc., are allowed. And then, if you have a religious person say that wearing ...

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How far should a company go to protect their employees' rights and moral dignity?

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Employees Rights and Employer Responsibilites

Read the following scenario about Mary. Based upon the information in the text and your own online research, discuss Mary's ethical options. What do you think that she should do?

Mary recently graduated from college and landed her first corporate job. She works as an administrative assistant for an international corporation that manufactures home decorations in the USA and Europe. On many occasions she had had to travel to Europe to assist company executives conduct business in a wide variety of countries. She had a primary boss in the USA and many secondary bosses in a variety of European countries. On the job only four months, Mary feels that she is already starting to loose her idealism about business. She has heard of and observed employees coming to work intoxicated â?" even sneaking drinks at work. She has seen employees routinely arrive late for work and leave early. Fifteen minute breaks and thirty minute lunches often last twice as long.
Employees routinely use their computers for sending and receiving personal emails, shopping online, checking horoscopes, and the weather, even gambling. And all of that happened in just her department in the USA and Europe. The department manager is very laid back. Mary has tried to talk with him about these problems, but he seems unable or unwilling to confront the problems. It appears to Mary that he wants the employees to like him, and the employees are taking advantage of that. Mary is growing more and more frustrated. She prides herself as a hard worker and assumed the other employees would be too. Mary is tempted to give up and join the other employees, getting paid for doing as little as possible. But she knows that she would not be able to respect herself. She is tempted to go over her managers' head to his supervisor and complain about the problems. But that would alienate her direct supervisors and the other employees. She has not been at the company long enough to request a transfer, and quitting her job after four months does not seem like a good career move. She is sitting at her desk wondering what she should do.
In response to this scenario, answer the following questions:
1. Using the internet, the library, and your textbook, compare and contrast the rights of employees and the responsibilities of employers in the United States and Europe. Are the laws, customs, and cultures different?
2. If Mary chooses to file a formal complaint with a government agency, what challenges will she face?
3. What kind of reaction will Mary get from her supervisors in the United States and Europe?
4. Finally, advise Mary on what course of action she should take.


During the 1990s, business and personal bankruptcies soared. This happened in spite of the greatest economic boom in U.S. history. It was also a booming time for lawyers who specialize in the intricacies of bankruptcy law. In 1998, a record 1.4 million businesses and individuals filed for protection under the bankruptcy code, which was a 300 percent increase since 1980. 96% of the filings were personal bankruptcies. However, in 1999, that number dropped 8.5%.
Many analysts attribute the high number of bankruptcies to aggressive credit offers by banks and (to a lesser extent) department stores. These companies lure even the most credit-challenged (young people and those who have problems managing money) into accepting their credit cards by sometimes offering secured lines of credit, in which the cardholder places as little as $100 in a savings account and receives a line of credit that is five times that amount.
Another reason cited by analysts for the increase is that the old stigma associated with bankruptcy--if you filed for bankruptcy protection, you were somehow inferior--no longer exists in most areas of the country.
A third reason is a change in attitude regarding the credit cards issuers. Not long ago, if an individual filed for bankruptcy, that person was unable to obtain credit for years (a bankruptcy filing remains on your credit bureau file for 10 years). However, credit card companies operated on a different premise. If you had recently filed bankruptcy, you were no longer in debt. Therefore, you must have had sufficient cash flow to service new debt. Within a month of filing, your mailbox would have been flooded with credit card offers.
In the business arena, filing for bankruptcy (thus stopping creditors from taking legal action) has evolved into just another business strategy.
The three most common types of bankruptcy are as follows:
- Chapter 7: The debtor's assets are sold to pay creditors, and creditors have no right to the debtor's future earnings.
- Chapter 11: A business continues to operate, and creditors receive a portion of both current assets and future earnings. This form of bankruptcy is also available to wealthy individuals.
- Chapter 13: For the typical consumer, creditors usually receive a portion of the individual's current assets and future earnings.
Although bankruptcy laws are sometimes abused--an individual may file personal bankruptcy every seven years and some individuals do exactly that--bankruptcy is designed as a safety net for individuals or businesses that experience financial difficulties for whatever reason.
Research the three types of bankruptcy, and answer the following questions:
- Who may file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
- What are some of the reasons that people file bankruptcy?
- How does bankruptcy affect interest rates on loans? Credit cards?

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