Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination

Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination. Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination. Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination


John Smith works as a assembly line worker for Nessee Products, a large manufacturer of desserts.  The company has a worker health and safety board located in the break room.  There are posters advertising fire alarm exits, where to find the first aid kits, machinery care when cleaning, how to avoid injury and repetitive strain at work, the steps to take in case of injury at work, and conferences you can attend.  There is also the names of the health and safety representatives for the company.


During the course of his work, John has noticed his new supervisor discriminating a fellow line worker; mostly in relation to his ethnicity.   John gets along well with his supervisor and is often praised for his great work.  He wonders what to do about this situation.


John searches “harassment at work” online that night.  He finds issues related to abuse of authority and feels this relates well to the situation he sees at work.  The next day, John quietly inquires about reporting harassment at work.  His friends on other lines encourage him to keep his mouth shut.  Dave says, “Look, it’s not happening to you, so just drop it.”  Amy is more sympathetic, saying, “John we’re looking out for you too.  I heard last month that another worker was being harassed.  He complained and was fired within the week.  The administration documented the reason for being fired as non-related to the complaint.  Don’t take the chance.”


The next day, John decides to go one step further and talk to Jack, the worker receiving the abuse.  Jack is clearly upset.  Jack says, “This isn’t your concern.  I can handle the supervisor myself.  Besides, everyone knows the real reason the last person was fired.  I can’t afford to loose my job.”


John considers his situation.  The message from his co-workers was loud and clear.  He strongly suspects that making further noises about this issue could jeopardize his job and Jack’s.  Further, after looking at the health and safety board again, he realizes there is nothing relating to this issue.  He has never been involved in a dispute with Nessee’s management and they’ve always seemed like trustworthy people.  He is still troubled by this apparent disregard for ethnic minorities.  On the other hand, Jack is the recipient and he’s not worried.



  1. What ethical dilemma is John facing?
  2. Analyze this dilemma using the “Principle of caring” and the “Golden rule” that can assist you in taking the ethical course.
  3. What do you think John should do? Explain your reasoning using the “ETHICAL DILEMMA PROBLEM-SOLVING MODEL”


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Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination

Case Study: Harassment and Discrimination

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