Overview of the ethical principles
As discussed by Ethics and Icade (2016), the four fundamental ethical principles can be identified as principle of respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. The principle of respect for autonomy states that we are obliged to respect the autonomy of other individuals with the decisions made by them concerning their lives. This is also seen as principle of human dignity and is not seen to interfere with the decisions of competent adults and positive duty to “empower others for whom we are responsible”. The corollary to this principle is depicted with maintaining honesty in dealings and obligations to retain promises. The principle of beneficence is associated to the obligation which is to bring good in all our actions. Henceforth, we should take positive steps to prevent any harm. The principle of Nonmaleficence refers to the obligation not to cause harm to others. The corollary principles are recognised with, situations where we cannot avoid the harm, then we are obligated to minimise the same. Similarly, one should not increase the risk of harm to others. The corollary of this principle also states that one should not waste resources which can be beneficial to others. The combination of beneficence and nonmaleficence shows that each action must produce more good than harm. The various depictions made as per the principle of justice is seen with the obligation to provide the others with what they own and deserve. In public life we are obliged to treat all people with fairness, equality and be impartial to them. We are obliged to work for the benefit of those individuals who are unfairly treated (Web.mnstate.edu 2018).
Overview of ethical decisions making models
The ethical decision-making model will be comprising of five main steps to support the final ethical action. The five steps include gathering of the facts, determining the ethical issue, consideration of ethical principles and responsibilities, identify the stakeholders impacted and possible solutions for taking the appropriate actions. The initiatives are seen to support the final ethical action. The information gathering process of the facts should include questions such as concern persons who can provide reliable information, current policies being exercised in the meat processing company, facts which are known to oppose the opinions we hold, legal obligations and rights involved. The ethical issues need to be ascertained with personal or group biases which will may be impacting the present issue. Moral feelings or judgements used to be asserted in this stage along with the ethical values which may be affected in case corrective actions are not taken. The consideration of the ethical principles in the third stage is seen to focus on the situation which relates to the mission of the company. It further considers the rights, ethical obligations and duties for everyone involved in the decision-making process. The important relationships and professional responsibilities upholding to the obligations are also studied in this stage (Frynas and Yamahaki 2016). The fourth stage of the framework comprises of identifying the stakeholders will be infected with the decision. In this phase we need to identify situations of our decision will have an impact on the present situation. The final step of exploring the possible actions and solutions should involve exploring the creative possibilities and ethical solutions to the problem. In this stage the strategies which will prevent such issue in future needs to be reviewed and a final decision is communicated with mission statement, vision statement, parties involved and moral feelings and judgement (Schwartz 2014).
Figure Ethical Decision-Making Model for The Meat Processing Company
(Source: Kocet and Herlihy 2014)
Stakeholders involved in the situation and their effect by the ethical issues
Some of the main stakeholders involved in the situation are seen with the employees of the meat processing company. As they are not included in the formal payroll, the company is not obliged to pay them the minimum wage even if they are assigned with same duties as those employees who are in the payroll. The stakeholders are affected by the unethical practices of the company for not providing the appropriate benefits and incentives to the employees who are not in non-payroll. In addition to this, the company may terminate such employees at their own discretion and without any notice. This draws a serious question on the integrity of the company and will have a detrimental impact on the future employees of the company and existing employees as well. Some of the other depictions of the situation needs to be discerned with the fact that the employees are not treated as per principle of human dignity and principle of justice. In the given situation it is clearly stated that most of the employees hold working holiday visas however, they are not included in the form of employment contract. Due to the payment of less remuneration to such staffs the company is not obliged to share significant amount of profit to these employees (Golob and Podnar 2014).
The employees are deprived of any form of health insurance benefits or employ damages which could have been summoned at the court. In such a case the company is not liable for unreasonable dismissal in lieu of notice, gratuity or payments. In addition to this, the employees shall not be able to provide any legitimate information of their employment to the court or any other business which they want to switch in future.
The main ethical issues concerning the present situation has been discerned with the ethics of minimum wage legislation. It is clearly depicted that the wages of the employees in non-payroll is not at par with the employees who are on the payroll of the company. In addition to this, the present issue clearly relates to the breach of ethical principle for beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. The breach of principle for beneficence is evident with company’s decision to underpay employees even with working holiday visas and not including them in employment contracts. A similar breach of ethical principle is evident with maleficence towards employees clearly suggests that the employer of the meat processing industry is causing direct harm to the employee’s financial condition, reputation and obstruction in exercising legislative powers. Some of the main form of ethical issues has been further discerned with not paying the sufficient share of companies profit form of depriving the employees of their rights. The employees were not currently included in the payroll are not only getting paid less but also the company is not obliged to share high amount of profit with such employees (Jamali, El Dirani and Harwood 2015).
The company is also discerned to be at the risk of serious ethical issue relating to the breach of labour laws. As per the minimum wages act the employees are entitled to get at least one day off from an entire week’s work and the company is bound to abide by the policy of fixed hours of working. Some of the ethical issues has been discerned with serious considerations relating to future of the recruitment process and employee relations with non-employees. It is important for the company to ensure that the referral process of one employee to another employee of the company is clear in terms of abiding by the ethical norms (Ethics 2014).
Necessary duties as a financial accountant
As a financial accountant it is my responsibility to check for validity of the financial statements and perform the duties in compliance with applicable principles, laws and standards. These principles are applicable to the clients, company’s manager, creditors, investors and any form of outside regulatory bodies such as Internal Revenue Service. Some of the most evident ethical functions need to be exercised in form of ensuring that there is appropriate classification of the employees who are recruited as a regular employee and those who are employed by contractor’s services. It is important to ensure that the expenses associated to the salaries are credited to both non-payroll and payroll staffs as per contract of appointment (Business Ethics Highlights 2015). Henceforth, the first initiative as a financial accountant we would be to ensure that a separate account is maintained for staffs who are in payroll and outside the payroll of the company. This will ensure that companies not involved in any form of maleficence which will hamper its future reputation. Secondly, I would inform my supervisor about the non-payment of minimum wages the employees even after having working holiday visas. The next step would be to ensure that employees of all category receive an official salary slip at the end of each month which will clearly state about their payroll and designation in the organisation. The third step would be to inform the human resources manager about providing official formal contracts to the employees. The adherence to the aforementioned steps will ensure that the company is ethically truthful towards the stakeholders and at the same time it complies to all the financial obligations on its part (Chen and Lai 2014).
Business Ethics Highlights (2015) Year in Review?: The Top 10 Business Ethics Stories of 2015, Business Ethics Journal Review. Available at:
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