George, the plan manger for Ardnak Plastic Inc., faces an ethical and moral dilemma. The Ardnak Plastic Plant he relocated to be the manager of has environmental problems. Fix the air quality issue at his plant or watch as the plant moves to Mexico. The smoke stakes are releasing too much pollutant into the air to the point the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to fine the corporation. George can change the time of day the plant manufactures its product and release the pollutants into the air at night. This is what his contemporaries at the other plants are doing to hide the release. His boss has threatened him to fix the problem or the plant gets moved to Mexico. The stakeholders are George the plant manager, Bill, George’s supervisor, George’s family, the town of Hondo, the Mexican town, the Environmental Protection Agency, anyone affected by the release of pollutants, and the environment. Their interests are the jobs of the employees, the lively hood of the town of Hondo, the investment of the stockholders, the ramification of pollutants in the environment and the moral obligation of George.
With the pressure Bill places on George to fix the problem or the plant will be moved opens several legal issues. The plant is in violation of the “Clean Air Act” of 1970. This act protects the stakeholders or the current and future generations from air contaminates typically too small to see with the naked eye (eGuide, n.d.). The EPA has enforceable powers to mandate companies fix the problems or face closure. George has the moral obligation to his community to fix the problem. Hiding the smoke at night will not fix the problem nor will it hide his moral or ethical responsibilities. As the manager of the plant George has an obligation to understand the ramifications of toxic torts. Businesses are legally bound to responsible measures by legal means (eGuide,n.d.). Simply a business could be sued by and individual without having to prove the business violated any law. The Ardnak Plastic plant is in violation of the “Clean Water Act”. The acid rain, from the pollutants released into the air, falls onto the community contaminating the soil, streams, and drinking water. The act seeks to provide protection to all sources of water, vegetation, marine life and the ecosystem (eGuide, n.d.).
Categorical Imperative Theory
Immanuel Kant states that people have a duty to action and their action should take into consideration the best interest of everyone. Decisions need made by evaluating moral actions and using moral judgment (Categorical Imperative, n.d.). In the case, George knows the right decision is to reduce the emissions. However, Bill has threatened George. If the plant does not stop, receiving fines from the EPA the company will relocate to Mexico. George has the duty to make the decision for the betterment of the community.
Bill is asking George to make the decision or act in a manner, which benefits Bill and the company. Bill has no interest in the welfare of the community or the environment. The actions requested of George are not in favor of the majority but for Bill and the company (Bentham & Mills, n.d.). These action place an ethical hardship on George as the economic impact of an entire town rest on his decision.
The citizens of Hondo have a right to a happy and healthy life. The plants release of the pollutants jeopardizes these rights and the rights of future citizens. Every person is born with certain rights (Principles & Theories, n.d.). George has a moral and ethical obligation to make the right decision regarding the pollutants. His decision will have lasting effects on the rights of others.
The company is asking George to make decisions that will infringe on the social and economic status of an entire town (Rawls, n.d.). If he does not correct the problem, the plant gets moved to Mexico. This will cause several hundred citizens to lose their job. The subsequent shut down of the plant will affect the economic status of the town of Hondo. The citizens of Hondo have the right to live a healthy happy life free of pollutants.
The Ardnak Plastics Inc. facility in Hondo, Texas violates several environmental laws by allowing the release of pollutants into the air. The release also violates the ethical rights of the stakeholders of the case (Principles & Theories, n.d.). George has the authority to make the decision and address the problem as outlined by the toxic tort guidelines (eGuide, n.d.). The right decision would be for George to take the ethical approach. He should request a meeting with Bill’s supervisor and the board of directors to report the threats made to him and the town. If this does not correct the problem, he should seek the assistance of legal counsel and force the issue. This action may cause the plant to close but George will have made the ethical decision. The decision to cover up the problem will led to the deterioration of peoples health. It would be unethical for George to act upon this decision. He knows this is not the right decision to make. The stakeholders are dependant on him to act on their behalf and make the ethical and right decision (eGudie, n.d.).
E-Guide to Ethics and the Legal Environment. (n.d). E-Guide to ethics and the legal Bentham/Mill. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/5q.htm Principles and Theories. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/kabernd/indep/carainbow/theories.htm John Rawls. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/cavalier/Forum/meta/background/Rawls.html Categorical Imperative. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialsciences/ppecorino/MEDICAL_ETHICS_TEXT/Chapter_2_Ethical_Traditions/Categorical_Imperative.htm