Goodyear was legally and ethically obligated to pay Ledbetter equal pay as the other employees in the organization even though the Court ruled in their favor. The Ledbetter ruling was a matter of statutory ruling rather than constitutional ruling (Bader, 2013). Constitutionally, Goodyear was obligated by the law to pay an equal pay to Ledbetter as it did the other employees. Though the court acted reasonably in barring the case because Ledbetter had passed the statute of limitation, it does not mean that her case did not have merit. Every company is obligated to treat all employees and applicants equally according to the Equal Employment and Opportunity Act. The defendant, Goodyear is a multi-national tire manufacturing company that has its headquarters in America. As an America Company, good year exist in the U.S economic system that has elements of planned economic control and free markets. The United States economic system is a mixed economic system because though companies are allowed to own production, they are still regulated by the government. As a rubber manufacturing company, Good year is regulated by several laws ranging from safety laws to environmental laws. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified rubber manufacturing companies as sources of air pollutants and as a result, they are expected to comply to the set greenhouse gas emission standards. Apart from complying with environmental regulations, the company is expected to comply with Organizational Health and Safety Act regulations in creating a health and safe working environment. Finally, the company is obligated to treat all employees equally regardless of race, gender, age, or disability according to labor laws such as EEOC.
It is the duty of the government and the employer to ensure that employees are treated properly and equally. According to the duty theory, we are morally obligated to act in according to a certain set of rules and principles regardless of the outcome. This theory emphasizes that our choices should always be guided by what we ought to do regardless of the consequences. In this case, a company is obligated to pay high salaries on merit and ensure that employees safety is prioritize even though performing these duties does not realize a profit. Duty ethics, also known as Deontological ethics emphasize on performing one’s obligation at the expense of consequence. The rules in this case include employment laws and labor laws that a company must conform with. The duty of an employer falls beyond legal obligation. An employer is also morally obligated to create a conducive working environment in which an employee will thrive. On the other hand, it is the duty of the government to protect its citizens through laws like those that prevent discrimination.
A business must act responsible towards its employees to prevent discrimination and because it is the responsible and ethical thing to do. According to Friedman, a company’s CEO is obligated to maximize the company’s profit, while following the set rules (1970). While many might interpret this to mean that a CEO is obligated to prioritize on profit, it means that profit must be maximized but laws and regulations must be followed in doing so. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a non-profit initiative whose efforts are geared towards the society. In the Case of Ledbetter, Goodyear was obligated to pay all its employees equally since CSR is against discrimination. Under CSR, employees are to act responsibly towards the communities they operate in by avoiding overconsumption of raw materials and pollution of the environment. To the government, a company is expected to be responsible in it tax payment and following of laws in its industry.
Treating employees properly trumps any goal to make profit because it is a duty. This is to mean that no employer should gain profits at the expense of the employees. In Ledbetter v. Goodman, Lilly Ledbetter requested to be compensated for the additional pay that the company failed to pay her all those years she was working with them but due to a statutory hitch, Lilly Ledbetter did not win the case (2006). Ethically, the company should was obligated to compensate Ledbetter, not to mention that if the company had been ethical from the beginning, there wouldn’t have been a case. Arguing from the leadership point of view, it is definite that the HR manager of Goodyear was aware of the pay discrepancies and chose not to address them. He must have known that she received a lower pay than other employees in a rank but he did not disclose this information. Like his/her employer, and as a leader, he had the moral responsibility to prevent this form of discrimination from happening.
The government should has a duty create laws that protect employees to prevent discrimination and to prevent unscrupulous employers from getting away with discrimination. According to, the ruling on the Ledbetter v. Goodyear (2006), the law. The further amendment of the Ledbetter Act continues protects employers. Under the new Ledbetter Act, a company can hide its discriminatory practices for 180 days and once the time has elapsed, they can carry on paying discriminatory wages (Bader, 2013). It is evident that women have made positive strides as far as bridging the gender pay gap is concerned. Some women even earn more than men in some cities (Strauss, 2014). However, the fact that women are making positive strides in the work place does not mean that the government should relax in their duty to protect women.
The constitution should protect its citizens and not harm them. The law should not give a leeway or an upper hand to companies that might want to take advantage of women in the work place. It is true that 20% of the pay differences between men and women in the work place are as a result of choices women make (U.S. Department of labor, 2009). Some women chose to work in family friendly environments which in most cases pay less (U.S. Department of labor, 2009). Others choose to work part time in their companies or leave the work force entirely to raise families. It is therefore noteworthy that payment discrepancies in the work place are not always as a result of discrimination (U.S. Department of labor, 2009). However, the law should not be lenient on employers because it undermines the progress that women have made over the years to achieve equality in the work place (Furchtgott-Roth, 2010).
The duty theory gives a superior analysis because it emphasizes on duty ad not consequentialism. The constitution is obligated to treat its citizens just as an employer is obligated to treat his employees equally. In this case, it is all a matter of duty and not consequences. If consequences are to prioritized, the businesses will continue to make profit at the expense of responsible treatment of employees. Similarly, since the rule in Ledbetter v. Goodyear focused on the consequences of following the statute of limitations, it failed in its duty to protect an employee from discrimination. Therefore, in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear paycheck and employers acting decently, duty supersedes consequence.
Bader. H. (2013). Misconceptions about Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Engage, 13(3), 26-30. Retrieved from http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/detail/misconceptions- about-ledbetter-v-goodyear-tire-rubber-co
Furchtgott-Roth, D. (2010, September 28). Testimony on the Gender Pay Gap. [Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee]. Retrieved from http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/2a1f8ad4- f649-4ad3-a742-268d946962db/furchtgott-roth-testimony.pdf
Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. 550 U.S. 618 (2006). Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05- 1074.ZO.html
Strauss, Karsten (2014). U.S. Cities Where Women Earn More Than Men. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2016/04/04/u-s-cities-where-women-earn-more-than-men/#f5bddd75d116
U.S. Department of Labor. (2009, January 12). An analysis of the reasons for the disparity in wages between men and women. Retrieved from http://www.hawaii.edu/religion/courses/Gender_Wage_Gap_Report.pdf