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Automobile Workers vs Johnson Controls Inc - Case Study Example

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Lead is a primary ingredient used in the manufacturing of batteries. Besides posing considerable harmful effects on human beings, it presents many health problems to the fetus carried by expecting mothers. …
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Automobile Workers vs Johnson Controls Inc
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"Automobile Workers vs Johnson Controls Inc"

Download file to see previous pages Eight employees of a battery manufacturing company who were pregnant exhibited increased lead quantities in their blood – more than what OSHA approves to be a considerable amount (Rehnquist, Kennedy, & Scalia, 1991). The company later barred all women from working in lead related departments except those who could not have children, though after passing clinical tests to ascertain their conditions. This prompted a group of employees to file a case in the District Court. They argued that the policy discriminated against the female gender and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Rehnquist et al., 1991). The District Court and the Court of Appeal granted the respondents a summary judgment on grounds that their fetal protection policy is reasonably necessary to further the industrial safety concern. The petitioners claimed that excluding fertile women from lead-exposed jobs, the respondent's policy creates a facial grouping based on gender besides marginalizing them under 703(a) of Title VII (Rehnquist et al., 1991). They claimed the policy is not neutral because it does not apply to males despite evidence that lead exposure poses great harm to their reproductive system. They cited that provided that the fertile women performed their duties as expected, the company has no right to segregate them. However, the respondents argue that they are concerned about the other coming generation’s status regardless of the law exclusively being for the parents (Rehnquist et al., 1991). Ethical Issues Is the company in line with professional work ethics and fair gender opportunities law by passing the policy discriminating fertile and infertile women from working in the lead related departments? No, the company does not satisfy its expected moral and ethical standards as required in the society by passing a policy that stigmatizes the female gender. Additionally, it also violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects all genders from discrimination. By so doing, the company would be creating a facial categorization that utilizes gender to segregate women (Rehnquist et al., 1991). The policy is not neutral and fair to both genders and how lead affects them either. According to the company, lead affects only the female gender despite concrete evidence that it poses adverse effects on the male reproductive organs. The law also cites that unless the pregnant employees differ from others in their expertise, they must all get both equal treatment and opportunities (Rehnquist et al., 1991). In addition, legislative history and case law bar an employer from discriminating against pregnant women or their pregnancy capacity unless their condition prevents them from performing the expected duties. The employees’ fetuses are neither customers nor employees whose safety is a concern of the company’s management (Rehnquist et al., 1991). In this context, the respondents should get rid of their policy as the female fertile employees participate in manufacturing lead batteries similar to other peers. Alternatives Would getting rid of the policy of the company not tarnish the company’s image and still keep the fertile female employees’ comfortable working for the company? Yes, this move by the company would motivate fertile females in the company besides prompting them to work more comfortably and harder than before. This would also be a means of enhancing good publicity of the company in the society because the policy adheres to the female discriminatory law, which contradicts with business ethics (Rehnquist et al., 1991). However, by taking this move, the company would be putting the fetus, the fertile mothers and their future families at great risks. This is because lead exposure to fertile women ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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