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Course name & No.:  Ethics and Social Responsibility MGT428
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 Scenario Based questions
 Ethical dilemma: Uber sexual harassment and discrimination                         [10 marks]

Susan Fowler realized her dream in January 2016 when she was recruited as software engineer at Uber. She was told that time that Uber strive to be leader in diversity and inclusion. It was a “super-women-friendly” place to work, boasting 25 percent female engineers. Instead, she found a culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.

February 2017, Fowler gained attention when she published a blog post titled “Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber.” Her post accused human resources of looking the other way as managers were accused of hitting on employees. More generally she described a culture of sexism at the company.
The blog post detailing her experience of sexual harassment and discrimination went viral and shook the company to its core, eventually leading to an investigation into Uber’s culture that resulted in the firing of more than 20 people. It also prompted an investor uprising that forced Travis Kalanick out as CEO. She also said to have sold the rights to a movie about her time at Uber and is writing a book about her life.

  1. What is the ethical dilemma faced by Susan Fowler when she started working with Uber?

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  1. Is this ethical dilemma at the personal level or organizational level? Explain. [2 marks]

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  1. Using three of the Principles approach to ethics, what do you think Susan Fowler should do? [3 marks]

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  1. Using three of the test approach to ethics, what do you think Susan Fowler should do? [3 marks]

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  1. If you were Susan Fowler, would you blow the whistle? Explain the advantages/ importance Whistleblowing for the social responsibility of companies [1 mark]

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  1. Although its advantages, Whistleblowing encompass many risks and disadvantages for the Whistle-blower. Explain the risks of being a whistle-blower. [1mark]

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case study                                                                                                                     [10 marks]

Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. The company has come under increasing pressure to improve factory conditions and workers’ rights, particularly after many accidents and reports.

21 WORKERS DIE IN FIRE AT H&M FACTORY

At least 21 workers died and 50 were hurt when a fire swept through a Bangladeshi factory making clothes for budget retailer H&M and other firms as they worked at night to fulfil orders.
The fire started at about 9pm at the factory at Gazipur, 50km north of the capital Dhaka on Thursday last week, trapping dozens of workers who were knitting jumpers. Thirteen of the dead were women, according to doctors.

Clothing factories in Bangladesh are prone to fires as a result of poor safety standards– were missing fire extinguishers, emergency exits and fire alarms and did not practise fire drills.
H&M said it had audited the factory, which specialised in making knitted garments, as recently as October and found no “serious” fire safety problems. On the corporate responsibility section of its website, H&M says that its inspections have driven up safety standards in Bangladesh. “In the early days we found that the factories were often unclean and in poor condition. Demands for better lighting, ventilation and cleaning routines made a real difference to the working environment.”
Forced overtime, sacked for pregnancy
The study by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) found workers stitching clothes for H&M faced problems such as low wages, fixed-term contracts, forced overtime and loss of job if pregnant.
The study found that overtime in all the factories was expected by employers. Cambodian workers reported they had to do two hours of overtime daily, while Indian workers reported working at least 9 hours to 17 hours a day. “Workers are routinely required to work until 2 a.m. in order to meet production targets — and then to report to work at 9 a.m.,” it said, referring to workers in Indian factories.
The study also found that fixed-term contracts were being used in all Indian factories surveyed. These contracts facilitate arbitrary termination and deprive workers of job security, pension, healthcare and seniority benefits.
Workers also reported discrimination in maternity benefits in both the Indian and Cambodian factories, said the study. Cambodian workers reported either witnessing or experiencing termination of employment during pregnancy, while Indians from all five factories said women were fired during their pregnancies.
H&M said it was collaborating with trade unions, government as well as the U.N. to improve workers’ conditions after a study found violations in supplying garment factories in India and Cambodia. H&M said solving all these issues was a long-term process which continues “step-by-step” and that the Swedish retailer was committed to improving labor rights in its supplying factories.
“The issues addressed in the report are industry wide problems. They are often difficult to address as an individual company and we firmly believe that collaboration is key.”
H&M has partnered with the International Labour Organization, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency as well as global and local trade unions to seek out solutions, she added in an emailed statement.
H&M and other multinationals pressing to soften Indian state’s plastic ban

Multinational companies like H&M and Amazon Inc are lobbying to soften a ban against single-use plastic imposed by an Indian state.
The ban by the state of Maharashtra could sharply raise costs for companies that rely heavily on plastic for packaging. Maharashtra’s move, the first such broad action against plastic by an Indian state, comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes a plan to completely end the use of single-use plastic in India by 2022.
A notice is pasted outside a shop stating the unavailability of plastic bags at a market in Mumbai, India, June 27, 2018.

Plastic packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste globally, and much of it is thrown away within just a few minutes of its first use, according to the United Nations.
Maharashtra’s plastic ban includes bags, food containers, spoons, forks, glasses and packaging wraps – which the local plastics industry says could cost it up to 150 billion rupees ($2.20 billion) a year and nearly 300,000 jobs.
For companies, cost is one of the main issues. Packaging charges comprise about 2 percent to 3.5 percent of fulfilment costs – the price of shipping, delivery and compensating sellers for discounts – and that the use of biodegradable plastic or other alternatives could push these costs higher. Cardboard boxes, for example, could cost nearly a third more than plastic packing.
Representatives of companies including H&M, Amazon, Pepsi and Coca-Cola, as well as plastic industry bodies and lobby groups (The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Internet and Mobile Association of India), met with Maharashtra government officials days before the ban came into effect on June 23, urging them to implement the rule in phases and relax some norms.
“Our demand to the government is: give the industry seven years to come up with alternatives,” said Neemit Punamiya, general secretary of the Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India, who attended the meeting. “It cannot happen overnight – we’ve got investments, we’ve got loans to pay and people to manage.”

  1. H&M sweatshops are giving examples of Ethical Issues in Global Business. Explain these Ethical Issue and their consequences. [2 marks]

 
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  1. Based on the case, explain the main measures taken by H&M to prevent abuses and ethical issues. [2 marks]

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  1. H&M with other companies are lobbying to influence Indian decision makers (Maharashtra government officials) in order to soften the law against single-use plastic. Explain the advantages/disadvantages of Lobbying in this case. [2 marks]

 
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  1. Human Rights and Labor Abuses are the main ethical Issues in Global Business. Help H&M prepare 5 rules/guidelines for their code of conduct for suppliers. [2 marks]

 
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  1. If you are decision maker in H&M, what should you do to resolve these ethical issues? Explain.                   [2 marks]

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