Case Study # 6 Asbestos Company
a. Identify all the moral issues that you think are involved in this case. Explain why you believe the issues you identify count as moral issues.
The main moral issue in the case study pertains to the refusal of the Johns-Mansville Corporation, an asbestos company, to take responsibility for the harms that asbestos has been causing the workers in its factory. The workers who have complained have contracted asbestosis, a cancer brought by prolonged contact with asbestos beyond tolerable levels. This is a moral issue because it involves a situation wherein which one of the parties has been harmed—or in the case of the factory, potentially harmed. The workers have been obviously disadvantaged because of the health problems that asbestos caused them and even their families. If the company denies them compensation for the illness they contracted because of the nature of their work, it would be an inhuman act.
On the other hand, if the company pays for the restitution requested by the victims, it could eventually go bankrupt which would also be bad for the thousands of other workers who work for the factory. Under this main issue are other related moral dilemmas. One is the reluctance of insurance companies to insure workers in asbestos companies because of the known risks involved. This is a moral issue because it is unfair to deny people the right to be insured from harm on their workplaces. Another is the attempts of the Johns-Mansville Company to cover-up or gloss over the findings of its funded medical studies about the perceived dangers of asbestos. Not telling the whole truth about results of research studies is unethical. Another moral issue has to do with the doctors and lawyers who have been taking advantage of the situation by filing huge damage suits against asbestos companies. The Manville Company has spent millions for settlements with asbestos victims but thousands more are suing encouraged by the success of others. If this practice of merely settling continues instead of companies looking for ways to minimize the harmfulness of the workplace environment, it would not solve the issues at all.