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Ethical Dilemma Research Paper
A UAE based construction company has begun to expand its operations and embarked on new construction projects that require expansion of its workforce and laborers. The motivation behind this move is to maximize profits with the existing workforce of laborers. However, things have not turned out for the company as they had planned and extreme time pressure has forced it to either hire more laborers or take extra work from the existing labor. If it fails to deliver on time and meet its deadline, it would have very adverse effects of on its overall ratings that will devastate the future prospects of the company. On the other hand, it is not able to hire more labor immediately because almost all of the laborers come from foreign countries and hiring of new laborers is a time taking task that cannot be completed within the deadline. There are various issues including visas and security clearance and after satisfying all these issues, only then the company can import the labor from other countries. If company follows this route, it will miss its deadline and the results would be as discussed above. On the other hand, company has the option of taking some extra work from the existing workforce and extending their work hours. It would be against the humanitarian concerns and International and UAE labor laws. The CEO of the firm is very confused at this time. It was his idea to expand the operations and get new contracts. If he now fails to deliver this, it will have serious implications for him as well along with the firm. He has finally decided to extend the work hours of existing labor force with a little increase in their pays and benefits. They are now being forced to work for more hours and their benefits are not matched to their efforts. In short, they are being exploited by the company. Mr. Hassan is a local employee in this company and serves at a middle level managerial role. He is very much concerned at this situation and is feeling guilty at the exploitation of foreign labor. He has talked to CEO but he refused to listen to him and forbade him from discussing it in future warning that it may have serious implications for Hassan if he reports or talks to anyone else about this matter. Now Hassan is concerned in an ethical dilemma. Either he can let things work as they are and think more about his own job and career or he can report this matter to labor authorities and risk his job. The report of this matter to authorities may put his job in jeopardy but he will be more satisfied for putting an end to the exploitation of laborers. He is caught in this dilemma and does not know what he should do.
This scenario relates to a conflict of interest between Hassan’s personal interest and those of foreign laborers at large.
Analysis of the Situation
Violation of UAE Labor Law
According to UAE Labor Law, the maximum working hours are eight hours that includes that an employee must nit work constantly for more than five hours and after that he should have break. (Staff, 2013) It further states that work hours may be extended to nine hours for people working in trade, hotels, cafeterias and guards. (News, 2013) However the employees must be paid for all the overtime that includes daily per hour wage plus no less than 25 percent of his wage. If his overtime comes on Friday, he must be given another day off for proper rest and relaxation. (Ahmad, 2012) None of these laws is being met at the company. Laborers are working for extra hours but they are not been given the due overtime rate. In addition to this, they sometimes work throughout the week and do not have any holidays that puts extra burden on them and disturbs their work life balance. All these conditions combined indicate that higher management is completely ignoring the legislations and is involved in illegal activities. It strengthens the idea that Hassan should report this issue.
In addition to this, this dilemma has humanitarian concern as well. Most of this labor and workforce comes from poor countries and these people cannot afford to refuse to the higher management because if they do so, they’ll have to go back to their countries which these poor people cannot afford. (Shoul, 2009) They have not many options available and they require some UAE national to take care of their plight. They are not well versed with the UAE labor Law as well and at this front as well, they are at loss. It makes very necessary for Hassan to report this issue and get the problems of this labor resolved because they cannot help themselves and Hassan must choose the interests of a larger number of poor people over his personal interest.
Fairness and Justice Approach
Another ground on which Hassan can solve this dilemma is Fairness and Justice Approach. This approach states that all human beings have the right to be treated equally and if for some reasons, they can’t be treated equally; there must be some criteria that ensure their proper treatment. (Mayer, 2013) In this scenario, people are not being treated equally. External labor is being exploited since they cannot help themselves. The management has double standards regarding these people. Although these people can’t be treated as equals to the UAE nationals, still there must be some criteria for their proper treatment by the firm. Company must follow the same labor laws for everyone and should not use this law as to gain its personal undue advantage at the cost of the laborers who cannot defend their rights. The exploitation by company is a sheer violation of principle of Fairness and Justice and Mr. Hassan can also employ this approach to come to a solution. (Shanks, 2013)
Principle of Greater Good
There is also another principle in this regard that Mr. Hassan can use to come to a conclusion. This is the principle of greater good. It states the people should make decisions that serve the purpose of betterment of greater number of people. It states that one should make decisions that are for the betterment and good of the society as a whole. (Principles of Common Good, 2013) One must not think for one’s personal goals and benefits rather he should think of the society as a whole and take decisions that are for the benefit of greater number of people although it may compromise his personal benefits and individual stakes. This is the principle that provides base for the strong foundation of a society because if people start thinking at this pattern, the society can be improved as a whole because now everyone will play one’s role. (Anderson) In the present scenario, Mr. Hassan can also look to this principle. Although his own personal interest is at stake, but the labor is in greater number and if he reports the issue, he will be serving for greater good. If he decides to take action and even gets punished for this act, he will be satisfied because he would have ended the suffering of a lot of people. His action will also not be of some danger and disloyalty to his firm. It is not his firm’s decision to exploit the employee; rather it is the CEO who is doing this in order to save his own face. He has put at stake lives of great number of laborers and also company’s goodwill in order to achieve his goal and save himself from implications. His action is of a very selfish nature that can jeopardize both workforce and company as a whole. Authorities may one day find the truth themselves and it would be a fatal blow to company’s goodwill. If Mr. Hassan takes the initiative and reports this matter himself, he’ll be doing benefit to the firm as well because he will be unveiling the actions of such a CEO who is a real danger to the firm.
In wake of the events discussed above, it should be very easy for Mr. Hassan to take a decision and report unlawful, inhumane practices of the CEO to UAE Labor authorities and bring an end to the sufferings of laborers. These people are being exploited because of their weaknesses and limitations and they are not able to help themselves so it is the duty of some UAE national to help these people. He must unveil these actions so that they are not repeated in the future. Islam being the most ethical religion has also preached the same thing. It states that the wages of everyone’s efforts must be reasonable and genuine. Moreover, if any one witnesses some inhumane practice, he must try to stop it. (Syed) So in lieu of the ethical standards of Islam and all other factors discussed above, Mr. Hassan must report the actions of CEO. It may bring problems and implications for him, but he will be doing the duty of greater good and satisfaction achieved after this action will be greater than any material benefit.
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