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Read the following case study, reflect on what actions should be taken. Questions for Discussion: What should Sherry do? What are the reasonable limits on loyalty to one’s employer? Would it make a difference if Sherry had a position of greater authority?

Read the following case study, reflect on what actions should be taken. Questions for Discussion: What should Sherry do? What are the reasonable limits on loyalty to one’s employer? Would it make a difference if Sherry had a position of greater authority? Would it make a difference if Sherry had scientific expertise? Medical Waste Disposal-A Case Study. © Chris MacDonald www.businessethics.ca Medical Waste Disposal-A Case Study Sherry Jones works as a clerk for AMCO Environmental Services, a small toxic-waste disposal company. The company has a contract to dispose of medical waste from a local hospital. During the course of her work, Sherry comes across documents that suggest that AMCO has actually been disposing of some of this medical waste in a local municipal landfill. Sherry is shocked. She knows this practice is illegal. And even though only a small portion of the medical waste that AMCO handles is being disposed of this way, any amount at all seems a worrisome threat to public health. Sherry gathers together the appropriate documents and takes them to her immediate superior, Dave Lamb. Dave says, “Look, I don’t think that sort of thing is your concern, or mine. We’re in charge of record-keeping, not making decisions about where this stuff gets dumped. I suggest you drop it.” The next day, Sherry decides to go one step further, and talk to Angela Herbert, the company’s Operations Manager. Angela is clearly irritated. Angela says, “This isn’t your concern”. Look, these are the sorts of cost-cutting moves that let a little company like ours compete with our giant competitors. Besides, everyone knows that the regulations in this area are overly cautious. There’s no real danger to anyone from the tiny amount of medical waste that ‘slips’ into the municipal dump. I consider this matter closed.” Sherry considers her situation. The message from her superiors was loud and clear. She strongly suspects that making further noises about this issue could jeopardize her job. Further, she generally has faith in the company’s management. They’ve always seemed like honest, trustworthy people. But she was troubled by this apparent disregard for public safety. On the other hand, she asks herself whether maybe Angela was right in arguing that the danger was minimal. Sherry looks up the phone number of an old friend who worked for the local newspaper.

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