Employers are required by law to provide specific employment conditions for their employees. For…

Employers are required by law to provide specific employment conditions for their employees. For example, minimum wage and hours laws help to ensure that the worker will not be required to work an extraordinary number of hours for little pay. Why do we have laws to protect workers? One reason for these laws is the belief that employees cannot protect themselves in the workplace. Because they have very little power over the employer, we have traditionally offered protection for employees to prevent their exploitation. After you read the following case example and answer the questions, you will have sharpened your critical thinking about employee benefits. Mike works full time at a large factory. As he is preparing to go home after his shift, he sees his boss yelling angrily at the television in the executive office. The news station has just reported congressional passage of a new law that requires employers to provide paid leave for the birth of a child; both mothers and fathers will receive the paid leave. Mike’s boss thinks the new law is an outrageous restriction on employers. Mike, however, welcomes the new law because his wife is pregnant; he will be happy to stay home with his wife when she has the baby.
1. Mike’s opinion and his employer’s opinion about the new law obviously conflict. Their respective ethical preferences are one important cause of their disagreement.What ethical norm seems to be dominating the employer’s thought?
Clue: Why is the employer upset? Review your list of ethical norms; try to match one of the norms to the reason why the employer is angry.
2. Mike’s boss makes the following argument: “It is ridiculous that the government would make me pay my employees to sit at home! They are my employees. I should get to decide if employees should be allowed to leave for the birth of a child.” Do you see any problems with this argument?
Clue: How does the employer’s argument conflict with the reason for offering employee benefits?
3. Before you make a judgment about the worth of the new law, is there any additional information that would help your thinking?
Clue: What information seems to be missing? Several crucial pieces of information about the paid leave are not offered in the news report.

 

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