One may encounter several professional dilemmas at workplaces. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to handle such dilemmas with caution since they can significantly advance or tarnish one’s career. In most cases, ethical dilemmas occur due to conflict of interests among employees (APPA, 2010). Such instances occur when one is in a dilemma of whether or not to report his or her colleague who is doing unethical acts (APPA, 2010). This often proves challenging especially when the parties involved have a close relationship.
As an employee in a company that produces containers, I encountered a certain ethical dilemma that posed a threat to employees’ health. The dilemma began by a contract that the company won, and it entailed production of three hundred containers within a one-year period. However, as par the company’s capacity, only two hundred containers could be produced within the contractual time.
According to the company, producing the containers was not the problem, but instead it was the paint that took a longer time before drying. After careful consultations, the best option was to use a different paint that could dry quicker.
Unfortunately, the paint to be employed had some toxic substance that could prove hazardous to employees. Therefore, they had to train employees on how to administer the paint safely. This proved challenging because training employees would take approximately six months thus they could be beyond schedule.
Following the challenge, the management team decided to hold a secret meeting consequently deciding to employ the paint without training the employees. Mr. Brian, the safety and health manager, was uninvited in the meeting and had no idea of what was going on. Fortunately, the information leaked consequently leaving Brian aware of the management’s unethical intensions. This was the point where I got the information i.e. via Brian given that I had a close working relationship with him.
As the safety and health manager, Brian had two options i.e. either confront the management of their unethical intensions or keep quiet and do nothing about the situation. Considering the consequences, Brian could lose his job if he confronts the management while, on the other hand, if he decides to do nothing employees’ health and safety would vastly be endangered.
There existed a difference in power by the fact that the management team could make final decisions on the overall running of the company. On the other hand, Brian could only influence matters that affect the employees’ health. Considering this fact, Brian could end up losing his job if he confronted the management team. Normative ethics that include virtue theories, duty theories and consequentialist theories was put on hold by the management team if they were to employ the toxic paint (Fieser, 2009).
The management was subjected to violate the normative ethic in the context of virtue theory and duty theory i.e. by perilously exposing employees to toxic paints. Several personal values were at stake both to the management team and also to the Brian as the safety and health manger. Some of the values included honesty, dignity, teamwork, integrity, generosity and optimism only to mention a few.
From Brian’s point of view, there existed two possible outcomes i.e. either decides to do nothing about the issue or use the information at hand to confront the management team about unethical intensions. Talking about the consequences involved, if Brian decides to do nothing employees will perish while, on the other hand, he risks losing his job incase he confronts the management team.
As an employee in the company, my health would have been compromised if Brian did nothing about the situation whereas, on the contrary, if he confronts the management, it would mean working in a hazard-free environment.
Fortunately, guided his instincts, Brian confronted the management team by reporting them to the board of directors. Brian’s decision was courageous since he never minded the consequences that was awaiting him incase the allegations were to be false. Following Brian’s decision, my colleagues and I were able to work in a danger free environment since the toxic paint was put on hold by the board.
The consequences were to our advantage on the argument that our health and life were not jeopardized. On the contrary, the management team was subjected to the disciplinary board thus facing the full consequences of their intensions. Subsequently, most of the management team members lost their jobs while others put on probation.
During my course of study, I’ve gained much on how to handle different dilemmas ethically. Based on what I have learned in combination to my working experience, my position on the dilemma would have been the same. This is because, according to normative ethics, an individual should do precisely what he or she expect others to do for them (Fieser, 2009).
Arguing from this point of view, I would also act in the same manner that Brian did by protecting employees from unethical intensions of the management team. Furthermore, it was Brian’s duty to ensure that employees work in a safe environment.
It is crucial to understand and be educated about ethical standard since everybody is vulnerable to ethical dilemmas. Better understanding of ethical standards assists in making the right choices that are considered ethical in the society. Additionally, one should also comprehend the consequences that follow their decisions. Ethically, one should act empathetically by placing yourself on others’ shoes. This assists in determining whether or not an act is ethical.
Fieser, J. (2009). Ethics. Internet encyclopedia of philosophy (IEP).
Retrieved 28 June 2010 from:
American philosophical practitioners association (APPA). (2010). Dilemma training.
American philosophical practitioners association (APPA). Retrieved 28 June 2010 from: