Chantale Leroux works as a clerk for Avco 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, Chantale comes across documents that suggest that Avco has actually been disposing of some of this medical waste in a local municipal landfill. Chantale is shocked. She knows that the Environmental Protection Agency has banned the disposing of hazard waste in ordinary landfill. Such waste requires special treatment. And even though only a small portion of the medical waste that Avco handles is being disposed of this way, any amount at all seems a worrisome threat to public health.
Chantale 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, Chantale decides to go one step further, and talks to Angela van Wilgenburg, 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.”
Chantale 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. Chantale consulted an old friend who is in charge of the environmental column of a local newspaper. Her friend told her that some environmental groups have expressed concerns over this issue and have started to monitor several places around the country.
Write a roughly 500-word (one to two pages typed) essay in analyzing this scenario. Quality of writing is a substantial consideration in the amount of credit given.
A. Who are the stakeholders who are/will be affected in this scenario?
B. What are the ethical issues that are involved? Be sure to distinguish between issues that are primarily right-and-wrong (e.g., ethical or moral lapses) versus those that are right-and-right issues in which there are simply tough trade-offs of appropriate competing values.
C. What recommendations do you have in how the situation could be/should have been resolved? OR, state if no resolution is necessary and the reasons why the status quo is acceptable.
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