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Ethics 1

ETHICAL DILEMMA

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Ethics 2

Definition of ethics and examples of ethical views

Ethic is a multidiscipline item that cuts across all spheres of academic and social cycles.

It affects our day to day lives. The term ethics was derived from the Greek word “ethos”, which

simply means habit. Put at its simplest, Trevino and Nelson (2016) defines ethics as a system of

moral principles. Ethic affect the way people make day to day decisions and also the way they

lead their lives. Ideally, ethics is purely concerned about what is categorically good for

individuals and by extension, the society and this makes it be described as a philosophy that

dictates social issues.

Examples of Ethical view

The Kantian view

This view states that the rightness of activities does not solely rely on their outcomes but

rather on the ability of the activity to satisfy an intended obligation (Werhane, 2018). For

example, two people are in a joint drinking and they drink until late hours and later decide to

each drive to their respective homes. One of them, irrespective of reckless driving, fortunately,

drives home safely whereas the other happens to knock down a pedestrian. The Kantian view

will disregard the knocking down of the pedestrian and will conclude that both the drivers were

wrong because all were drunk and it doesn’t matter whether one knocked a pedestrian down or

not, the fact is they were drunk and driving.

Utilitarian view

This is a moral or rather ethical theory or hypothesis that greatly considers outcomes

before initiating an activity (Mill, 2016). Considering the above example, the utilitarian

perspective would argue that the drivers could not have driven themselves home because they
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were drunk. This is because drinking and driving is a risky bot to the driver and other people

using the road. The utilitarian perspective considers the consequences of one’s actions.

Egoist view

The Egoist moral hypothesis upholds some activities and totally disallows others. With

regard to the above situation, moral selfishness involves paying great attention and consideration

to an individual’s self-interests (Broad, 2014). It additionally says that we are ethically

committed to abstaining from being worried about others if by doing as such it doesn't farther

claim interests. Considering the above example, the drunkards were not ethically wrong as long

as drinking served their personal interests. Egoist view states that the drunkards had no duty to

act except if acting serves their personal interests

Identify the key issues surrounding the dilemma

An ethical dilemma or moral quandary or moral oddity is a basic decision-making issue

between two conceivable moral imperatives, neither of which is unambiguously satisfactory or

ideal. The many-sided quality emerges out of the situational struggle in which obeying one

would bring about transgressing another. There are a number of key ethical issues that surround

the dilemma.

Firstly, is the fact that Sarah as a student has been known to exhibit disturbed and

disruptive behavior in class. Owing to this, it is, therefore, hard to believe the allegations she is

making. Because she has been known for fabricating lies and even developing false accusations,

it could also happen that this special case is a fabricated lie. So the ethical issues here is that

Sarah is a liar.
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Secondly, another ethical issue surrounding the dilemma is that it is ethically wrong for a

teacher to sexually abuse a student. If Sarah’s story is anything to go by, then the concerned

teacher needs to be severely punished. Even as Sarah makes this crucial allegation, it is

important to note that Margaret herself appreciate that fact that there is a possibility that the story

could be a made-up story because she personally understands Sarah. Similarly, Margaret

personally knows that it is almost practically impossible that the aforementioned teacher is

capable of committing such a crime.

Thirdly, another ethical issue to pinpoint from the case is whether Margaret, surrounded

by the facts of the case, should act. Margaret personally understands that her actions could be

consequential, particularly to the teacher in question. It has been indicated that the teacher is

newlywed, with a promising career and Margaret know that any action she takes against the

teacher would go ahead destroying both his family, career and even worse, his reputation.

Fourthly, another ethical issue is the relationship that will now exist between Margaret,

Sarah and the accused teacher, supposedly Margaret acts. If for any reason Margaret buys

Sarah’s story and goes ahead to act against the teacher, the relationship between the teacher and

Margaret could be at stake. Enmity will be knocking at the door, waiting to be welcomed.

Similarly, suppose Margaret reports the teacher and he is found to be innocent, the teacher will

have a very negative attitude towards Sarah.

Discuss legislation and policies relevant to the dilemma

Sarah’s idea to share her story with Margaret is in fact provided for by in the

Northampton college policies. The college policies clearly indicate the responsibilities of the

student towards the staff and what a student needs to do in cases where they feel they are being
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bullied by the staff. In instances where the student suspects bullying by the staff, the policy

indicates “Students who feel they are being bullied or harassed should consider the option of

telling the person responsible to stop whatever it is they are doing that is causing distress, as

they may be unaware of the effect of their actions…..”(Northampton College, 2018)

If Sarah’s story would be bought and would be anything to go by, the teacher would be

liable under the Equality Act 2010. Particularly, Part 2(26, ii), “harassment” would implicate

him. The legislation states that one person A harasses another person B if A engages in unwanted

conduct of sexual nature (Equality Act, 2010). The teacher would be squarely implicated by the

above-mentioned regulation since his actions would amount to harassment and are of a sexual

nature. This is on the power of assumption that the teacher is much more powerful than the

student and therefore the student would have no choice but to comply, otherwise, non-

compliance would be negatively consequential to the student. Northampton college policies

indicate clearly the responsibility of staff toward the students. The college policy states “Every

member of staff has a responsibility to ensure students are treated with dignity and respect. Any

act of harassment, discrimination, victimization or bullying may be grounds for disciplinary

proceedings, which could result in a sanction up to and including exclusion” this, therefore,

means that if it is true that The teacher has been sexually harassing the student, he will be

subjected to disciplinary proceedings and would even end up being sanctioned or even expelled

from the college. This would be detrimental to both his family and career.

In a case where the allegations made by Sarah are false, Sarah would also be liable for

harassment. The Equality Act 2010 Part 2 section 26 sub-section 1b {(Part 2 (26) (1b)} indicates

that “ A person A harasses another person B if the conduct has the purpose of violating B’s

dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for


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B” (Equality Act. 2010). The actions by Sarah would be aimed at demeaning the teacher,

probably because the teacher did not bow down to her demands. This, as per the Act, amounts to

intimidation. Northampton school policies are very clear on the rights of students towards the

staff. The college policies states under student responsibilities “To treat all students, staff, and

members of the public with dignity and respect. To ensure their own conduct does not cause

offense or misunderstanding” (Northampton College, 2018). As per the policy, it is clear that if

Sarah’s story is not true, then her conduct would have caused an offense and create miss-

understanding. Margaret herself appreciates the fact the teacher is good-looking and perhaps a

number of students have crushes on him. Sarah might have fabricated the story and falsely

accuse the teacher of having seen that the teacher could not fall for her.

Compare and evaluate different views on the chosen dilemma

Kantian perspective

Kant strongly believed that certain actions like lying and murder were totally prohibited

even in cases where the action would bring happiness than if an alternative course of action had

been chosen (Bowen and Prescott, 2015). According to the Kantians, the rightness of activities

does not solely rely on their outcomes but rather on the ability of the activity to satisfy an

intended obligation (Werhane, 2018). If Sarah’s story is a fabricated lie, then it would be

critically analyzed from the Kantian approach. According to the Kantian perspective, Sarah

won’t mind about the consequence of her actions, so long as her demands and obligations have

been met. It could be that Sarah was sexually attracted to the teacher and upon seeing that the

teacher is not positive to her demands, she decides to form a story that would intimidate the

teacher. So according to the Kantian perspective, Sarah is out to achieve her desires and

therefore her actions are worthy irrespective of what the consequences of her actions are.
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Utilitarian perspective

This is a moral or rather ethical theory or hypothesis that greatly considers outcomes

before initiating an activity (Mill, 2016). According to the Utilitarian perspective, Sarah would

be considered to be ethically wrong if her story is a lie. This is because the theory assumes that

her actions are inconsiderate and would result in negative consequences on the part of the

teacher. Sarah personally knows that the accusation would negatively repute the teacher, besides

threatening to break his young family. Therefore, according to the utilitarian perspective, Sarah’s

actions are unethical and consequential and Sarah should have first considered the consequences

of her actions.

Egoist perspective

The Egoist moral hypothesis upholds some activities and totally disallows others. With

regard to the above situation, moral selfishness involves paying great attention and consideration

to an individual’s self-interests (Broad, 2014). The egoist theory says that we have an ethical

commitment towards abstaining from being put to worry by others if doing so doesn’t meet our

desires (Vaughn, 2015). Ethical egoism is the idea that every person ought to pursue their own

self-interest. According to the Egoist perspective, Sarah is out to achieve her own self-interests.

The theory states in this case that Sarah has no duty to act except doing what is best for herself

because the principle of conduct, in this case, is self-interest. Having been known for her

disruptive behavior characterized by lies, Sarah is likely to have acted to serve her own personal

interests. If the story is set-up story, then the Egoist theory holds this perspective that the story

was meant to achieve Sarah’s self-interests and therefore, according to this perspective, Sarah’s

actions are right because the principle rule underlying her actions was service to her self-

interests.
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Conclusion

Having considered the above case and analyzed it from the various ethical perspective, it

important act right. Sarah has been known for exhibiting weird behaviors even in class. It is

important for Margaret to critically analyze the case before taking any action. Margaret should

consider the possibility of Sarah lying, given the fact that she has always been known for that.

Similarly, she should also consider whether the teacher is able and is and is in a position to

sexually harass the student. If any case Margaret would be guided by a theory in arriving at

what’s is best for her to do, I would recommend her to go by the prospects of the utilitarian

theory. Ideally, it is unethical for a teacher to sexually harass a student and given such a

situation, the accused teacher must discipline. However, it is quite tricky in such a case because

the accuser (Sarah) has been known to go to the extremes to even fabricate lies. On the other

hand, the accused is known to be a good-looking young man with a promising career and liked

by students including Margaret and Margaret finds it difficult to believe that he can do such

thing. Faced with such scenario, I believe the best thing for Margaret to do is not to quickly rush

to reporting the teacher accused by Sarah but rather to sit down and privately investigate the kind

of interaction between the two and later make an informed decision.


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References

Bowen, S.A. and Prescott, P., 2015. Kant’s contribution to the ethics of communication. Ethical

Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics, 12, pp.38-44.

Broad, C.D., 2014. Five types of ethical theory (Vol. 2). Routledge.

Equality Act. 2010. Equality Act 2010. [ONLINE] Available at

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/pdfs/ukpga_20100015_en.pdf. [Accessed

12 May 2018].

Mill, J.S., 2016. Utilitarianism. In Seven Masterpieces of Philosophy (pp. 337-383). Routledge.

Northampton College. 2018. Policy statement. [ONLINE] Available at

https://www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/images/pdfs/our-

policies/student_harassment_and_bullying_policy.pdf. [Accessed 12 May 2018].

Trevino, L.K., and Nelson, K.A., 2016. Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do

it right. John Wiley & Sons.

Vaughn, L., 2015. Doing ethics: Moral reasoning and contemporary issues. WW Norton &

Company.

Werhane, P., 2018. Business Ethics: A Kantian Perspective, by Norman E. Bowie. New York:

Cambridge University Press, 2017. 234 pp. ISBN: 978-1316343210. Business Ethics

Quarterly, 28(1), pp.110-113.