What are the reasonable limits on loyalty to one’s employer?

PSAD 414 Ethics

Discussion Board questions must be answered thoroughly. Must be APA format, answer thoroughly, must have at least one per response, verifiable legitimate sources. 150+ words, trust your judgement. Due by Sunday September 22, 2019 @ 20 hours.


Week 5 Discussion Post #1 Topic

 Instructions: Read and analyze the following case study from the perspective of a public safety administrator, reflect on what actions should be taken. Keep in mind that although this is a private sector based case study. Something very similar could happen in a public safety agency. For example, biological/medical waste in Fire/EMS or evidence tampering in law enforcement.

 Questions for Discussion:

· What should Sherry do?

· What are the reasonable limits on loyalty to one’s employer?

· Would it make a difference if Sherry had a position of greater authority?

· Would it make a difference if Sherry had scientific expertise?

Have fun!

 © Chris MacDonald


Medical Waste Disposal-A Case Study

Sherry Jones works as a clerk for AMCO Environmental Services, a small toxic-waste disposal company.

The company has a contract to dispose of medical waste from a local hospital. During the course of her work, Sherry comes across documents that suggest that AMCO has actually been disposing of some of this medical waste in a local municipal landfill. Sherry is shocked. She knows this practice is illegal. And even though only a small portion of the medical waste that AMCO handles is being disposed of this way, any amount at all seems a worrisome threat to public health.

Sherry gathers together the appropriate documents and takes them to her immediate superior, Dave Lamb. Dave says, “Look, I don’t think that sort of thing is your concern, or mine. We’re in charge of record-keeping, not making decisions about where this stuff gets dumped. I suggest you drop it.”

The next day, Sherry decides to go one step further, and talk to Angela Herbert, the company’s Operations Manager. Angela is clearly irritated. Angela says, “This isn’t your concern”. Look, these are the sorts of cost-cutting moves that let a little company like ours compete with our giant competitors. Besides, everyone knows that the regulations in this area are overly cautious. There’s no real danger to anyone from the tiny amount of medical waste that ‘slips’ into the municipal dump. I consider this matter closed.”

Sherry considers her situation. The message from her superiors was loud and clear. She strongly suspects that making further noises about this issue could jeopardize her job. Further, she generally has faith in the company’s management. They’ve always seemed like honest, trustworthy people. But she was troubled by this apparent disregard for public safety. On the other hand, she asks herself whether maybe Angela was right in arguing that the danger was minimal. Sherry looks up the phone number of an old friend who worked for the local newspaper.

© Chris MacDonald

The events and persons in case are entirely fictional. There is no “AMCO Environmental.” Any similarity to real persons or companies is purely accidental, though hopefully instructive.


Discussion Post #1


This is a pretty clear cut case for what Sherry should do ethically.  Medical waste disposal most certainly has some sort of regulatory body and she needs to report them anonymously and claim protection under whistle blower protection. As for loyalty, as long as I am not asked to do anything morally or ethically wrong, I am generally down to do most things for a good employer.

If Sherry was in a position of greater authority the blame could fall onto her for failing to account for where the medical waste is being properly disposed of.  This is probably why her superiors are taking an issue with the fact that she has found this document, as burden of proof falls onto them to fix it.  If Sherry was a scientist or had some expertise, again she would probably be in a position to make some choice in where the disposal took place.  Additionally, she would be able to argue that the regulations are not overly cautious and are in place for a reason.




Discussion #2

Sean Powell


What should Sherry do?

· Sherry should seek out external resources to ensure that her sound concerns are heard. These can be achieved by using an inspector generals office or similar team within her organization that is not directly in her chain of command. Alternatively, she can pursue public options brought environmental or public health organizations to ensure public safety is maintained.

· What are the reasonable limits on loyalty to one’s employer?

· Limits should pertain to the integrity one has with an organization as long as the organization is abiding by laws, rules, and regulations. Organizations should have avenues for employees to be able to voice ethical concerns without recourse.

· Would it make a difference if Sherry had a position of greater authority?

· Having a greater responsibility in the agency would likely help Sherry take a stronger stance on this ethical situation, but would also create additional tension with higher management as this could be a threat to the overall stability of the company.

· Would it make a difference if Sherry had scientific expertise?

· In this scenario, I don’t think it would of add much difference. People of varying experience and expertise can spot and see ethical issues in their day to day lives or encounter them through their careers.









Discussion #2 Topic Paying for Silence

Read the following case study and consider what are the issues are from both the company and the individual as they pertain to:

· integrity,

· ethics

· and law?

AND…..What options does the woman have, and what should she do and why?

Case Study

A woman is sexually harassed by a top-level senior executive in a large company. She sues the company, and during settlement discussions she is offered an extremely large monetary settlement. In the agreement, the woman is required to confirm that the executive did nothing wrong, and after the agreement is signed the woman is prohibited from discussing anything about the incident publicly. Before the date scheduled to sign the settlement agreement, the woman’s lawyer mentions that she has heard the executive has done this before, and the settlement amount is very large because the company probably had a legal obligation to dismiss the executive previously. The company however wants to keep the executive because he is a big money maker for the company.



The integrity of the female is that she is degrading herself and should not be embarrassed or ashamed feeling she did anything wrong. The integrity of the top-level senior executive is unethical that he uses his authority to do this to women and the company that stands behind this behavior and continues to cover it up. There are laws that prohibit this behavior and conduct against companies and persons and hold them liable and responsible for their actions. The options for her are that she could take the settlement and have some cash and live with this on her conscience the rest of her career and life. My suggestion would be that she hires a lawyer and take action on the top-level senior executive and the company. Let the lawyers search out others that this has happened to and get them on board with the suite. She should bring this to light because this is very unethical behavior of the top-level senior executive and the company that is covering up his actions.


Response #1



Discussion #2


So I have a couple of different feelings on the issue. First off, on the discussion of integrity, this case shows that the company clearly has none. If they were in this situation before and refused to act upon their predetermined conditions, then they are obviously not willing to meet their obligations. For the ethics portion, what they are doing is highly unethical. Despite the fact that these sorts of things unfortunately occur frequently, the idea of paying an employee to remain silent is an obscure form of bribery. The fact of the matter is that the woman was sexually harassed, and this conduct can incur legal action. Paying for this woman to remain silent shows that the company is willing to do what it takes to keep the information away from the public so that they can continue with business as usual without fear of losing their top-level senior executive. At this point, the woman should have her attorney withdraw from the deal and seek legal action. The actions of this company appear to be shady, as if they are covering up patterned behavior. This may be a good time to take it to the police and pursue legal action.

Response #2

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