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Professional Ethics and Toxic Waste sample essay

1.Discuss why Rachel has an ethical responsibility to take some action about her suspicion of the illegal dumping of toxic wastes.

Rachel has an ethical responsibility to take some action about her suspicion of the illegal dumping of toxic wastes because it is illegal to begin with and even though it might only be a suspicion, if it turns out to be true, under the eyes of the law if she knew about it and did nothing, she is just as guilty as the responsible parties. She might be working for a very prominent firm but if her suspicions turn out to be true, the minute those news go public the firm’s reputation will definitely suffer as will the firms employees.

No employee wants to have to suffer the consequences of a wrong doing by the upper management of any firm and even more if the actions taken by the upper management are strictly illegal and they are knowingly performing such actions. Having found such incriminating note directed to the plants general manager and doing nothing about it is like saying you are ok with the illegal activities that you think might be taking place. Rachel is the director of financial reporting, this will be a person of interest in case an investigation takes place and if the investigation finds that she knew what was going on and did nothing, it will put her in a very bad position regarding the law and future employment. Rachel definitely has an ethical responsibility to take actions in regards to her findings.

2.For each of the three alternative courses of action, explain whether the action is appropriate.

•Seek the advice of her boss, the vice president of finance for Alberta:

This would be an appropriate action to take. Even though she might not know if her boss is directly involved in the situation, going to him with the concern is proof enough that she cares about her company and doing the right thing. If her boss is not involved she might even be somehow recognized as an example employee for going forward with such information and doing the right thing.

•Anonymously release the information to the local newspaper:

Releasing the information to the news anonymously is always an option even though for her specific case I would not recommend it. She has no proof that her suspicions are in fact taking place and it would be very irresponsible on her part to say her company is doing something as illegal as improperly dumping toxic waste on purpose just to save some money.

•Give the information to an outside member of Alberta’s board of directors, whom she knew because he lived in her neighborhood:

Again, releasing such information to an outsider without knowing if it’s true or not, might be irresponsible on her part because from that point on it would only be one step for a company outsider to make the information public without knowing the facts. Since in this case the outsider is a member of the board of directors, she could contact that person if she feels comfortable with him in order to discuss her findings privately. That way she is also showing her commitment to doing the right thing for her company and shows her concern to do right by her as an employee.

3.Assume that Rachel sought the advice of the vice president of finance and discovered that he both knew about and approved of the dumping of toxic wastes. What steps should she take to resolve the conflict in this situation?

If Rachel sought the advice of the vice president of finance and discovered that he both knew about and approved of the dumping of toxic wastes I’m sure she will have a conversation with her regarding what she just found. Rachel will have to see what he has to say about the toxic waste dumping and then make a decision regarding the confirmation of her findings. That decision might range from leaving the company and not reporting the incident, to staying as an employee and going directly to the appropriate agencies and reporting her findings. Whatever Rachel decides to do, she still has an ethical obligation to report her company’s illegal activities be it to her superiors or to an agency like for example the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

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