Incident At Morales
Nice Guys Finish Last
In the video last week, Fred became concerned about the plan to use unlined ponds for wastewater disposal. Would you agree that the video portrayed Fred as having a “crisis of conscience?”
What information from the video supports this conclusion?
Fred was working late in the library reading about ethical duties.
Chuck asked Fred in the library, “You aren't having a crisis of conscience, are you Fred?”
Wally used Fred's same phrase the next day in is office with Fred, e.g. “What is this Crisis of Conscience all about?”
Why was Fred suffering a Crisis of Conscience?
He knew that the company was doing the wrong thing with respect to the ponds.
From a technical point of view, did Fred know what the Company should do about the ponds?
Yes, he understood enough of the technical issues involved to know that lining the ponds or using other waste water treatment and disposal procedures could eliminate the public harm.
Then what is the “crisis of conscience” about?
As an engineer, Fred knew his duty to protect the public health, safety and welfare prevented him from simply looking the other way on this issue, and he was trying to decide what action, if any, he should/could take.
We know from the video that the Company resolved the pond issues in a manner acceptable to Fred. However, let's assume for this discussion that Chuck's response to Fred's “crisis of conscience” was different. What should Fred do if the Company's response was, “The ponds are fine unlined, and you should not stick your nose where it does not belong?
Fred's options at that point would be limited.
Fred could resign, and leave the issue for those who remain to decide what to do.
Fred could continue his work and ignore the pond issue because this problem was not his, but belonged to the environmental group at the company.
Fred to take action outside the company to notify authorities about the plan to use unlined ponds, and the public risks that plan creates.
What should a person in Fred's hypothetical situation do?
Must the immoral or illegal conduct adversely affect a public to justify a whistle-blowing act?