Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
The United States has several laws that are intended to further fair, balanced, and competitive practices. I do feel that these laws are effective in many ways. Some of those ways I will pin point in the next few paragraphs. These laws include some major concepts of law. Some of these major concepts include torts, contracts, property transactions, patents, trademarks, copyrights, and bankruptcy. These laws were made to protect the integrity of businesses, help people to maintain their business, help employees to maintain a safe work place, and make sure that there is the least amount of issues legally if possible. These business laws were set into place to prevent more than just economic issues with monopolization or CEO’s and employees becoming wealthy by illegal activity. Within these laws, there is an abundance of detail entailed; however I am aiming to give you a basic, general understanding of what some of these laws are and why they do work for the most part. Some of these reasons that I will speak of will be to inform you how these laws help the protection of environment through environmental regulations, laws on finances to help abolish as much debt in a business as possible, and laws that concern the employment and labor in businesses that were set to serve and protect the people and the work they do for companies, their safety and a company’s safety, and also help to maintain the legality of businesses ran across the United States. Even though some laws do vary by international, statutory, administrative, and common laws, this is a partial overview of the some major concepts of business law.
Environmentally laws help in so many ways. Even though we can’t stop all the pollution or destruction of priceless property that consists of ecosystems that are becoming close to extinction we do have laws that are in place to stop the mass majority of the abomination of such beautiful areas. These laws that are set are also to stop demolishing our own water and air supply and prevent people from getting illness caused by chemicals that are airborne or in water lined from dumping. Some of these laws include the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants. (EPA, January 19th, 2014) This is placed as a law or regulation to help us to stay safe as well as a company. Can you imagine the other health concerns that could arise if there were no limitations specified or guidelines to follow? Many companies had ignored these laws in the past, and created sickness in people that underwent extensive procedures and the disease was deemed incurable. People every day die from environmental factors and this prevents even more illness from accompanying outside people and employees as well as internal employees. The vehicles that these companies use contain many toxins that go into the air we breathe. With this law there is an emission standard that is commonly referred to as “MACT”. Maximum achievable control technology is a standard that determines if there is any risk that exists and if so the necessary risks will be addressed. The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972. (EPA, January 19th, 2014) Here is another example on how the rules and regulations help many of us. Not just being fair to a company but also its surrounding environment consisting of people, animals, and natural elements and plant life. There now has to be permits called NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) that are obtained before any dumping in any surface water whether it is industrial, municipal, or other facilities. There are also other offices that handle other areas of pollution control such as our drinking water is controlled by the OW, the Office of Water. These people unsure we have clean and safe drinking water.
Another area that I feel laws and regulations serve people and companies a great deal of fairness is on the financial frontlines. There are areas where you can have issues dealing with your financial responsibilities and your endeavors of starting your own company just didn’t pan out as well as all would have hoped. When a situation such as this comes to light, you simply take matters to a larger level and claim bankruptcy. There are different types of bankruptcy so there are possibilities of restructuring your company or even a complete over haul on your debt disappearing. This all depends on what chapter you would like to file. I personally would never want to claim bankruptcy, but I don’t think anyone really wants to claim, some people just don’t have a choice. There are three most commonly known bankruptcy forms that are used Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Each one differs from the other a little bit, but it pretty much depends on your intention on your financial situation. Chapter 7 allows the debtor to sell nonexempt property and the monies allotted from the sale pay the creditors which in turn the claim is settled permanently and the rest of money earned from that point on is now the debtors including any exempt property. In Chapter 11, this type of bankruptcy allows a period of time for the debtor to reorganize and reestablish their financial responsibilities. This is usually the chapter mostly chosen by larger companies in order to modify structures within their financial team. This is used to nullify the burden of debt payments. The last Chapter is mainly for individuals who have regular employment and incomes but are unable to pay their creditors and come to an agreement on a new payment plan between the debtor and the creditor. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a negotiation to help consolidate. I feel this helps continue growth for many companies to keep their employees working, keep people from losing their homes, and continue to help make people thrive within our community. Without the possibilities of a bankruptcy I know many people who would have nothing and become unemployed. I also think it is a way for competition to stay alive outside in the business world. If every company folds and just goes under without fighting for their company, well then there would only be a few of them around subtracting the amount of competition. I honestly feel these bankruptcy options actually help more than hurt the people and companies of business by allowing them a chance and a choice of financial redemption to their creditors.
Employment and Labor Laws
The Laws that I feel are the most effective for both parties of employees and companies are laws concerning Employment and Labor. Anything from wages and hours to plant closing and layoff are covered under these laws. These are the main ways to protect ourselves while under employment. These laws are designed to keep us safe as well as keep us in line and protect our best interest as an employee. There are many laws under this topic so I am going to choose only one that specifically talks about the unification of employees and employers in the workplace and its safety and health issues. It may seem like nothing to many people but there are a lot of harmful elements in the work place that sometimes an employer isn’t necessarily aware of. However, the rules and regulations on this topic are under the direct supervision of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs, which also cover public sector employers. Employers covered by the OSH Act must comply with the regulations and the safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA. Employers also have a general duty under the OSH Act to provide their employees with work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards. OSHA enforces the Act through workplace inspections and investigations. Compliance assistance and other cooperative programs are also available. (United States Department of Labor, 2014) There are other laws that coincide with the damaged that can be caused and deemed harmful for employees such as worker’s compensation laws, but let us focus on what OSHA really means to employees. These people from OSHA plainly keep things clean and nontoxic for us to maintain optimal levels in the workplace without the fear of being harmed any way chemically or environmentally. Their rules and regulations keep us safe. Consider the alternative of us not having OSHA regulations. It could potentially be disastrous in many ways, by chemical ingestion, harmful inhalants, tampered scientific analysis, the possibilities are endless. Many people could be harmed, live could be altered and ruined, and therefore this is one of the most important factors of why there are laws written for health concern in the workplace. Without rules and regulations we have no standards. Standards are how we manage to keep order and continue growth not only in the business world but also on the outside world. Everything has rules and everyone has regulations. The world needs guidelines to create order and be able to maintain and mange it to prosper in ways profitable, and non for profit. These are just a few reasons why I feel it is very important for the United States to set laws and regulations to further fair, balanced, and competitive practices. With these in place and other regulations, I can certainly say that I feel safer for growth and more determined in the work place to get my job done as efficiently as possible so I may be as effective as these laws.
http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-air-act; retrieved 03/21/2014 Last updated on January 19, 2014; United States Environmental Protection Agency 42 U.S.C. §7401 et seq. (1970)
http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act; retrieved 03/21/2014 Last updated on January 19th, 2014; United States Environment Protection Agency 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)
Business in Action Sixth Edition
By Courtland L. Bovee` and John Thill
Copyright 2013, 2011, 2008, 2006, 2004 by Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/lawsprog.htm; retrieved on 03/21/2014 U.S. Department of Labor | Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210 www.dol.gov | Telephone: 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365)