Most people would agree that the objective of most businesses is to make money in an honorable manner, and to conduct business in an ethical way. Well, not all businesses operate in an honorable and ethical manner. According to Lovelenna Rajeev, author of Ethical and Unethical Business Practice, “Business ethics are moral values and principles, that determine our conduct in the business world.
It refers to the commercial activities, either with other business houses or with a single customer”(Rajeev2009). While the objective of all businesses is to make profits, the business should contribute to the interest of the society by ensuring fair business practices.
However, greed has led businesses to unethical business practices and general mistrust. Some examples of unfair business practice include; bribery and dishonesty, unfair treatment of employees, sexual discrimination. Everyone knows that it is unethical for a business to use dishonesty and bribery to get employees to do what the company wants them to do. Well, not every company sees the wrong in being dishonest.
The biggest company in the world, Wal-Mart, is accused of using bribery and dishonesty so that their employees cannot join or communicate with a union. Wal-Mart is a non union organization that feels it does not need third party intervention.
So, instead of unions, Wal-Mart has an open door policy meaning if an employee has a problem they can take their complaints beyond management and go straight to corporate.
According to PBS,” the open door policy does little to help its employees but gives the company the leverage they need to terminate unwanted non compliant employees”(Moore2005). Also, Wal-Mart employees get paid less than unionized companies and their employees usual quit by the end of their first year. The company also prohibits it employees from communicating with union workers. According to Wikipedia, Wal-Mart’s executive, Tom Coughlin was forced to resign because he was embezzling money.
The executive claimed that the money was used for an anti-union project involving cash bribes paid to employees in exchange for a list of names of Wal-Mart employees that had signed union cards and communicated with a union. It is unethical for Wal-Mart to prohibit employees to talk to union representatives. According to the National Labor Act, employers are not allowed to discourage or bribe employees from forming a union for they have that right. Wal-Mart is wrong for bribing employees and therefore they encourage dishonest behavior. If Wal-Mart wants to avoid lawsuits, the company need s to let it be known that they will not oppose employees talking to union representatives.
Not only has Wal-Mart been accused of bribery and dishonesty, but they are also accused of unfair treatment of employees.
Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in America. According to Heidi Cossitt, “the average full time employee makes only $15,000 a year. The majority of wal-mart workers are only allowed to work 28 hours a week to keep them from getting over time, and at this rate according to Cossitt, “an employee makes $11,000 a year”(Cossit 2003). This is well below the poverty rate which makes Wal-Mart employees eligible for public assistance, such as food stamps.
Another issue with Wal-Mart is that health insurance is only available to a small percentage of its employee. Of that small percentage, only a few can afford the high premiums. Once again, Wal-Mart is acting unethical by paying low wages to its employees and by only offering high premium health insurance. To solve this problem, and to avoid a bigger one, Wal-Mart needs to stop being greedy and support their employee rather than treating them unfairly. As the largest retail company, Wal-Mart has a duty to treat all employees and suppliers with respect.
However, this is not always the case.
According the article ‘Earning Less, Holding Fewer Senior Positions’, in 2003, Dr. Richard Drogin, Professor at California State University-Hayward, conducted a study on wages for female employees at Wal-Mart and found that: “Female hourly workers earn up to 37 percent less per hour than male counterparts; female full-time employees working at least 45 weeks earn on average nearly $5,000 less than male employees in yearly salary; women make up to 72 percent of wal-marts total workforce but only 33 percent of its managers; and women make up 92 percent of wal-marts cashiers, but only 14 percent of Wal-Mart store managers”(Drogin2004).
These statics show just how unfair and unethical Wal-Mart is when it comes to discriminating against women. Wal-Mart needs to pay men and women the same. A women is just as capable as a man when it comes to running an organization and therefore a women Wal-Mart employee should have the same privileges and pay as their male counterparts.
In conclusion, Wal-Mart is a huge company known by many households around the world. The company has on many occasions been accused of unfair and unethical business practice.
Bribery, dishonesty, unfair treatment of employees and discrimination against women is unethical and should not be practiced by any business or corporation. It’s a shame that such a huge company that makes so much money has to be so unethical. Eventually, people will see right through wal-marts unethical practices and ultimately Wal-Mart will lose a lot of customers.
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