The purpose of this paper is to analyze the ethical issues related to Danella Construction Corporation of Pennsylvania by applying the three basic kinds of moral standards in business to the case. The three moral standards that will be mentioned in this paper are utility, rights and justice.
Danella Companies is a utility contractor categorized in the telephone, gas, electrical, water industries, and engineering services. The company was established in Plymouth Meeting, PA, U.S., in 1992, with various offices located in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia. Danella Construction Corporation developed and prospered as a full service organization committed to providing the highest quality work in a safe environment.
However, in July 2008, Danella Construction Corporation of Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Danella Companies, faced lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In this lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that Danella Construction Corporation of Pennsylvania declined to accept Lisa Drozdowski to apply to a laborer position because of her sex. In 2005, Lisa Drozdowski began working as a flagger for Danella and assisted the crew. Danella managers repeatedly refused Drozdowski attempts to apply for a substantially higher paying laborer position although she presented good job performance. Moreover, the company also claimed that female employees cannot be laborers (US Fed News Service, 2009). According to EEOC, female employees were not hired as laborers while the company hired male applicants with little or no experience as laborers (US Fed News Service, 2009). In addition, the company also failed to provide portable restroom at some construction sites, which sometimes forced women to urinate outside in public. Moreover, after Drozdowski complained about discriminatory treatment, the company reduced her work hours and stopped to assign her any work although the company continued to hire her as flagger positions.
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In this situation, the company has involved to the discrimination in employment in term of sex discrimination and retaliation. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a company will violate the law when it “fails or refuses to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” (EEOC, 2009). Moreover, according to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to promote an employee because she filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (EEOC, 2009).
Velazquez said that discrimination (in employment) is wrong because it is inefficient (Velazquez, 2009). Social productivity will be optimized to the extent that jobs are awarded on the basis of competency or merit. Different people will have different work skills and personal traits. Moreover, there are many jobs that require different skills and personal trails. Therefore, the managers must have responsibility to assign there employees or individuals whose have skills and personal traits qualify with the most competent for the job to ensure that their jobs are maximally productive. In the case, Danella Construction Corporation of Pennsylvania has not observed the utility theory since they refused Drozdowski to apply to a laborer position although she presented good skills for job. Marie M. Tomasso, District Director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, said “Even in traditionally male dominated fields like the construction industry, employers must give qualified female applicants and employees equal opportunities to compete for and receive higher paying positions.” (US Fed News Service, 2009).
According to Kantian theory, discrimination is wrong because it violates a person's basic moral rights (Velazquez, 2009). This theory means that each individual must be treated as a free person equal to any other person. Through the case, the company treated unequally between men and women, when they failed to provided portable restroom at constructions sites. Men at work sites would urinate in holes or behind backhoes and trucks but women needed a confidential place. Drozdowski claimed that the company did not provide portable toilets at work sites. Therefore, she was some times had to walk a quarter mile to her car and drive 5 to 10 minutes to find the nearest restroom (…).
According to John Rawls, the principle of equal opportunity is a fundamental principle of distributive justice. This principle means “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity” (Velazquez, 2009, p.322). Discrimination violates this principle because it gives less opportunity for individuals to complete for jobs. Thus, discrimination is unjust distributions of benefits and burdens. Through the case, it is impossible for women to get jobs in the construction company because the construction company often requires good physical strength for outdoor conditions. According to construction industry and women research, “63% of young women interviewed felt that it would be practically impossible for women to get jobs in the construction industry and only 17% thought that it would be a suitable career for them” (Shanmugam, Elvitigala, Lee, Haigh and Amaratunga, 2006). However, Danella Construction Company refused Drozdowski to apply to laborer position although she showed fully standards required for this position. The company hired male with little skills as laborers instead of female with fully skills. She said “when she asked to be promoted to a laborer's position she was told by management that the company did not hire female laborers” (….). In this situation, Danella Construction Company has not observed the Justice theory which benefits and burdens are distributed among people.
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Through the case, the ethical issue related in sex discrimination and retaliation in Danella Construction Corporation of Pennsylvania has analyzed by the utility, rights and justice theory. In fact, in November 2009, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that Danella Construction Company has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a federal sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The company also provided portable toilets facilities for all its female employees at its work sites.
Danella Construction to pay $200,000 for sex discrimination retaliation. (2009, November 9). US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Retrieved January 7, 2010, from Northcentral University Research Library. (Document ID:1897252761).
Shanmugam, M., Elvitigala, G., Lee, A, & Haigh, R, & Amaratunga, D. (2006, April)
Construction industry and women: A review of the barriers. Proceedings of 3rd International SCRI Research Symposium. Delft University of Technology and TNO, Delft University, Netherlands. Retrieved January 7, 2010 from http://www.buhu.salford.ac.uk/caw/files/conferencepapers/prs01.pdf
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adea.cfm