Labor Practices

Topics: Business ethics, Decision making, United States Pages: 5 (681 words) Published: June 2, 2015


Labor Practices Paper
Shaylene Lambson
PHL/320
6/16/2014
Douglas Reed

Labor Practices Paper
In a captivity business world there are many pressures and demands to be met by companies. Many times those demands lead business to adapt unethical behaviors. The United States has placed many laws to protect workers from those unethical practices but in an international business world, what protects international employees from falling victim those practices? This paper will address the ethical dilemmas business may face when consumer demand affects a company’s production needs, how different ethical perspectives guide ethical decision making, and how a company influences their ethical environment. Consumer Demands

When the demand of a product becomes large, a company must provide the product at great speed and efficiency to meet that demand. Producing large quantities can be very costly for a company and fast growth can be financial risky. Some companies choose to meet those demands be expanding their workforce but other choose to outsource work for cheaper labor. Unfortunately, there are companies that have adapted unethical practices such as sweatshops. A sweatshop is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as a “factory that violates 2 or more labor laws. 2. Sweatshops often have poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labor, and a lack of benefits for workers”. Sweatshops have been around since the early 1830s but are something that the United States has worked hard to abolish. Global economies allow many business a loop hole to outsource work to countries that do not have the strict laws that the U.S. has set in place. Some of the largest and most popular companies in the country have been accused of sweatshop practices. Nike, Apple, and Gap are among a few of those companies accused of sweatshop labor. When one reads the above definition it may be hard to reason why a company would adapt those practice yet many of those people making the decisions to participate in that choice do not feel sweatshop labor is injustice. Ethical Perspectives

In many companies the working conditions are poor. Wages are very low and work can be hard to come by. Large companies that have outsourced to these companies can be opportunities to many of the local population and do pose certain benefits that may not be offered from local business. Some people justify the work conditions of a sweatshop as being “better” than those of the local companies. There have been arguments that the people working at these companies choose to work there and know the conditions in which they work. The philosophy of “something is better than nothing” has can be adapted to justify these labor practice, therefor, rationalizing the decision to participate in unethical practices. Another way of thinking is this, companies that do not use sweatshops will fail. This way of thinking indicates that the company feels it’s only way to minimize costs is to maximize efficiencies any way possible. Is it possible for a company to survive in today’s market without succumb to practices that are questionable? Influencing Their Ethical Environment

There are many companies in the United States that do not succumb to poor labor practices. Many companies have adapted and participate in the Fair Labor Association. The companies that participate in the FLA are committed to ensuring fail labor practices and working conditions that are humane for employees. Companies need to practice ethical choices to influence the environment around them to create an economy that allows companies to thrive even with consumer demands are high. Conclusion

Companies face many challenges when attempting to meet the consumer demands and they must take proper preparations in order to be effective distributors. Companies that are unsuccessful are because they are unable to use unethical practices, fail because of improper planning and...

References: United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/flsa1938.htm
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