Legal and Ethical Considerations in Marketing, Product Safety, and Intellectual Property Sam Cook
Dr. William Stone
August 28, 2013
1. Research three to five (3-5) ethical issues relating to marketing and advertising, intellectual property, and regulation of product safety.
When looking at PharmaCARE’s relationship with the Colberians, you see that the company’s treatment of the indigenous population is unethical. In terms of intellectual property, the scenario in Assignment 2 highlights the exploitation of the Colberians. While the indigenous population freely shares their information about their cures, the company exploits them by not compensating them for their shared knowledge. According to labor laws, companies should work ethically and treat all of their employees fair -- not equal, but fair. Some employees, based on their position and level of responsibility, should be paid more and should receive better perks than others. However, the company is earning millions of dollars from the knowledge being shared by the healers, and its executives live in luxury with swimming pools, tennis courts, and a golf course, while the Colberians continue to live in huts without electricity or running water. If the company compensated the healers for their intellectual property, the Colberians could improve their living conditions. PharmaCARE is taking advantage of this group of stakeholders because the healers are uneducated, ignorant to intellectual property laws, and do not know the true value of the information they are sharing with PharmaCARE. According to authors S.C. Jain and R. Bird, the Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is considered the most relevant intellectual property treaty, and nations that have signed on must treat foreign intellectual property rights holders the same as domestic ones (2008, p. 7). Yet, PharmaCARE failed to compensate the healers of Africa in the manner required by U.S. laws. Next, let us look at the relationship between the executives and the rank-and-file workers. Under CompCARE, demand and profits soared thanks to AD23, but when Allen informed the Director of Operations of concerns his employees brought to his attention, we see in Assignment 2 that he was told not only to fire the employees who complained, but to also keep his mouth shut about bogus prescriptions. In terms of employee relations, this is ethically wrong. In Tom’s case, labor laws give him the right to inform Allen of poor air quality in the lab without the threat of losing his job. It is Allen’s responsibility to notify the executives, who in turn are responsible for correcting the problem. In Donna’s case, her illness and absences are caused by chronic bronchial problems associated with poor air quality in the lab, and labor laws give her the right to request worker’s compensation. In Ayesha’s case, although she is a long-serving employee who is said to be a very good worker, she has not been promoted to supervisor and feels she is being denied the promotion because she is a Muslim. She has the right to file an EEOC complaint without fear of retaliation because labor laws do not allow for any form of discrimination. Not only will the EEOC investigation determine if she is being discriminated against, but it could also reveal the necessary actions or training needed by Ayesha to be promoted to the supervisory position. Before any employee is fired, a manager must clearly identify the reason why an employee should be fired and should review company policy on releasing employees to ensure compliance. Not only has Tom failed to do this, but he also failed to issue first and second warnings to the employees. Additionally, the fact that the Director of Operations ordered Tom to fire these workers and keep his mouth shut in order to maintain his employment is also against the law. In a law suit, if an employer forces an employee to participate...
References: Halbert, T., & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law and Ethics in the Business Environment (7th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage.
Jain, S. C., & Bird, R. (2008). The Global Challenge of Intellectual Property Rights. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. v. Western States Medical Center et al.: certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit. (2009). Supreme Court Cases: The Twenty-first Century (2000 - Present). Retrieved September 3, 2013, from EBSCOhost.
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