Burlington Northern Railroad & Santa Fe Railway Company (Bnsf)

Topics: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, BNSF Railway, Burlington Northern Railroad Pages: 4 (1222 words) Published: March 7, 2010

Andrew C. Hubbert

ETH 501 – Business Ethics

Module III – Case Study

BNSF Genetic Testing

Dr. John Malpass
The purpose of this case study is to justify the fairness of the court settlement between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Burlington Northern Railroad & Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF). Burlington Northern did willingly and knowingly breach employee personal privacy, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in conducting unauthorized genetic blood testing on unknowing employees. The court mandate that they pay $2.2 million to 36 employees is fair and just. To illustrate the fairness of the settlement, I will show the utilitarian perspective from Burlington Northern Railway offices as well as the employees’ view. I will also show the deontological considerations by outlining the contractual violation by the company. Companies may go to great lengths to avoid payment of disability insurance claims. They hire insurance investigators to gather evidence in support of claims denial. They comb past medical records for any hint of preexisting conditions. They often refer employees to “inside” doctors for “slanted” reports favoring company interests. They are particularly reluctant to pay claims on disabling conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), which has no external manifestations of the injury. All are perfect examples of unethical behavior. The utilitarian argument from Burlington Northern could have been that they were simply looking out for the company as a whole. Each disability claim, whether fraudulent or not, costs the company and its employees. By genetically testing claimants for pre-disposed conditions of CTS, they could deny future disability claims. Burlington Northern could argue that their discrimination is justified in attaining the end result and that it would save money for both BNSF as well as every employee. This, in turn,...
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