Business Ethics

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CASE STUDY: HELPING PATIENTS AT PLAINFIELD HEALTHCARE CENTER Question 1
Is it unethical for the managers of Plainfield Healthcare Centre to honour their white patients’ requests to be helped only by members of their own race? Was Brenda Chaney subjected to a ‘hostile workplace’ on the basis of her race? Did the managers of Plainfield Healthcare Centre unethically discriminate against Chaney?

It is unethical for the managers of Plainfield Healthcare Centre to honour their white patients’ requests to be helped only by members of their own race. Plainfield hired Chaney as a nurse aide or certified nursing assistant (CNA). As a CNA, she was responsible for monitoring patients, responding to their requests for service, and generally assisting with their daily living needs. Plainfield detailed Chaney's daily shift duties on an assignment sheet that she and other employees received upon arriving at work. The assignment sheet listed the residents in Chaney's unit and their corresponding care needs. It also featured a column with miscellaneous notes about each resident's condition. In the case of Marjorie Latshaw, a resident in Chaney's unit, the sheet instructed nurse aides that Latshaw Prefers No Black CNAs.

Plainfield acknowledges its policy of honouring the racial preferences of its residents in assigning health-care providers. Plainfield maintains it expected its employees to respect these racial preferences because it otherwise risked violating state and federal laws that grant residents the rights to choose providers, to privacy, and to bodily autonomy. Indeed, in its reply brief to the district court on summary judgment, Plainfield acknowledged that the assignment sheet for Chaney “banned” her from assisting Latshaw. For fear of being fired, Chaney went along with the policy. Although Latshaw remained on her assignment sheet, Chaney reluctantly refrained from assisting her, even when she was in the best position to respond. Once, Chaney found Latshaw on the...
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