In against female staff with lower pay, more limited,

In
the following essay, there would be analyzed the news recently published by BBC
news on September 14, 2017, telling about Google, the technology giant, that pays
women less than men for comparable work. The article is about the lawsuit
against Google filed by three women who are demanding to change their paying practices
and compensate each employer fairly. The lawsuit says that Google discriminates
against female staff with lower pay, more limited, promotion, and fewer
advancement opportunities compared to men with comparable qualifications. In
the following news, there is mentioned the article published earlier in the New
York Times, that reported a spreadsheet with the data, containing information
about salary and bonuses of Google for the 2017 year. This information is concerning
to 1200 Google’s employees in the United States. The New York Times published
the snapshot of women and men average salaries. From the data, it could be seen
that women are paid less comparing to men, especially at mid-level. Moreover, also
bonuses for men employees tend to be higher than for women. Google, in its turn,
tried to make a justification, saying that the published data has presented
incomplete picture, as it is just 2 % of the company’s global workforce.
Therefore, Google stated that this data could not represent complete and
reliable information. However, according to the lawsuit, the Department of
Labour found systematic pay disparities at the company during audit done in
2015. Therefore, US Department of Labor currently investigates Google’s pay
practices in depth.

            The major business ethics issue
involved in the case, discussed above, is gender discrimination. Mainly the
issue is about the unequal salaries and bonuses among men and women in Google. The
case addresses the issue of violation of employee rights, primarily right to
freedom from discrimination. The theory of ethics of justice will be used to
analyze the following case. A starting point for analysis would be the analysis
of theory, however afterward there would be analyzed and evaluated the case
with the reference to business ethics theory- theory of justice.

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            The theory of justice is concerned
to how “fairly individuals are treated so that they get what they deserve”
(Crane and Matten 2016, pp. 109). According to this theory, individuals’ rights
should be treated equally and fairly. There should be used the agreement to
regulate the fair distribution of costs and benefits between two parties if they
enter into an economic transaction. Beauchamp and Bowie (1997) defined the theory
of justice and looked at fairness with regards to two ways: fair procedures and
fair outcomes. “The first denotation defined fairness in terms of freedom that
everyone has to acquire rewards for their efforts. This is commonly referred to
as procedural justice” (Crane and Matten 2016, pp. 109). Consequently, it means
that the procedures should be fair to every individual, ensuring that everyone
gets according to their commitment. According to Ferrell
et al. (2005), “procedural justice is based on the processes and activities
that produce the outcome and results”. Accordingly, if in the company there is
not performed and developed evaluation of performance on a continuous base,
there would occur problems with procedural justice. If the employee will have
concerns about the unfair compensation in the company, this employee will have the
perception that there are unreliable processes in the company.

            The second denotation of fairness deals
with it in terms of whether the consequences (either positive or negative) are
distributed in a just manner. “This is commonly referred
to as distributive justice”. (Crane and Matten 2016, pp. 109).  According to Ferrell et al. (2005), distributive
justice is grounded on assessment of results of a business relationship. Beauchamp
and Bowie (1997) denoted that distribute justice involved fair allocation of
rewards such as job and payment among all groups. Accordingly, employees would
have concerns about distributive justice in the workplace if some employees are
paid less comparing to other coworkers, who are doing the same work. In addition to Beauchamp and Bowie’s view (1997)
of two types of justice, distributive and procedural, Ferrell et al. (2005) outlined
the third type- interactional justice. He used it for evaluation of fairness in
communication in appliance with the business relationship.

            John Rawls in his book “Theory of Justice” addresses
to the issue of distributive justice’s role in the society and denotes the
principle of “Justice as Fairness”. In this principle, the author put the
essence that the principles of justice are settled to a preliminary situation
that is fair. The veil of ignorance is the base of this principle which ensures
that none is privileged or underprivileged by the outcomes or contingency of social
circumstances. “Veil of ignorance was referred to where individuals envisaged a
situation in which they had no knowledge of who they were, the political state
in which they were born, or their economic, physical, ethnic and gender
circumstances” (Lovell 2005, pp. 20).  In the theory of justice, Rawls proposed two essential
principals of distributive justice. First, is the principle of liberty that
defines that “each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive
scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties
for others” (Rawls 1999, pp. 53). This principle
includes “civil and political rights, such as voting rights, freedom of speech
and religion, and the right to equal protection under the law” (Follesdal 2015, pp. 314). Consequently, it looks at the
fulfillment of general human rights, ensuring that “the basic freedoms are
realized to the same degree for everyone affected by a decision” (Crane and
Matten 2016, pp. 111).

            The second principle of distributive
justice deals with two circumstances of social and economic inequalities and is
based on assumption that these inequalities are inevitable in a free and
competitive society. “Social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so
that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and
(b) attached to positions and offices open to all” (Rawls 1999, pp. 53). Rawls
refers to these two assumptions as two completely various principles: the principle
of equal opportunity and difference
principle. The principle of equal opportunity defined that the arrangement is
justifiable when even the one who profits least is still better off than they
would be without this arrangement. While the second principle, the difference
principle defines that social and economic inequalities are justifiable only
when they benefit the least advantaged member of society.

            According to Rawls’ difference principle,
inequality can be in place till it is “to the greatest expected benefit of
the least advantaged”. Therefore, Rawls has been criticized for being more
egalitarian as he assumes equal rights to everyone. Further, he claims that
socioeconomic inequalities can be permitted only if the state of fair equality
for everyone is satisfied. The egalitarian approach tends to have problems
according to Crane and Matten (2016). It is ineffective as people vary a lot,
while this approach rewards everyone equally. For instance, when an employee
works hard, this person earns the same amount of salary as the person, who
works less and thus, it tends to be the unfair distribution of salary. Furthermore,
Rawls theory has been criticized for being not dealing sufficiently with built
injustices and inequalities. Mainly it was supposed that Rawls dealt with
existing imbalances in authority and power insufficiently. Rawls difference
principle was mostly criticized, blaming for allowing wide inequalities in
wealth, authority, and power. Moreover, the difference principle was criticized
for ignoring the clarifications of how people come to be more or less
privileged groups.

            Underneath I would discuss the approach to
discrimination from the perspective of the theory of justice and evaluate the
case described in the news with the reference to ethics theory- theory of
justice. According to Velasquez (1992),
discrimination is an irrelevance in employment and he outlined that
discrimination is based on diversity of people based on race, gender,
nationality, religion and so on. Smith and Johnson
(1996) outlined that the degree to which discrimination is supposed to be injustice
is covered by an approach described in the theory of justice. As distributive
justice deals with the fair distribution of benefits among societies,
consequently discrimination obviously breaches that principle. Consequently, in
the news concerning to Google’s paying practices, where the company is accused of
paying salaries and bonuses to male employees more than to female, the issue of
discrimination is presented. Based on this issue, it can be concluded that
Google breaks the main principle of the theory of justice in business ethics. Mainly
Google violates the second principle of the Rawls’ theory of justice, that
states “social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are
attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality
of opportunity”. (Rawls
1971, p. 302). This
theory deals with the equal treatment of individuals, while in the case about
Google says that employees are not treated equally, they are discriminated
based on gender. Therefore, it means that issue of the gender discrimination in
Google breaks the principle of equality.

            Based on the
theory of justice individuals should not be differentiated based on gender,
race, religion or any other criteria. The same should not happen in
organizations. Organizations must not disregard the individuals based on
gender, race, religion or any other criteria and thus should not exclude the
individuals from being involved fully in activities of an organization. If the organization
will break the abovementioned, it will be considered to cover an act of
discrimination. Therefore, in the news where there is discussed the lawsuit made
by three
women demanding to change their paying practices and compensate each employer
fairly, it is seen that they have taken lawsuit
against Google because they want to protect their rights of equality, i.e.
everyone should be treated equally nevertheless of gender or any other
criteria.

            Nowadays, many organizations have
employees of different background, gender, religion, race, and nation,
therefore handling diversity amongst employees has become very significant. Primarily,
gender discrimination has become an up-to-date issue that got importance as mostly
nowadays it occurs that female employees receive low salaries comparing to
males for the same type of job. Gender inequality
in technology industry happens very commonly. Google, being one of the largest
and the most powerful technology company in Silicon Valley, has also gender
disparity. According to data presented on their web page, 69 % are male, while
31 % are female employees. However, it is not surprising as mostly technology
industry is dominated by male employees. Google claims that they have closed
the gender pay gap, however, in the news discussed above, there is published
data on employee’s average salaries. And it is seen that women are paid less
comparing to men. Nevertheless, this published data can be criticized for being
presented incomplete information as it represents just 2 percentage of the
Google’s global workforce. There should be analyzed the rest 98 % of the
employees on what gender do they represent and what paying practices they have.
 Thus, for now, despite the fact that
according to lawsuit, the Department of Labour has found pay inequalities
during audit, done in 2015, taking one’s side or the another is irrelevant as
information is not complete. Only after when US Department of Labor will make
investigation about Google’s pay practices in depth, and official data with
regards to unequal payment practices would be published, then it can be
possible to make any conclusion if gender discrimination actually is presented
in Google.

            To sum up, the theory of justice
deals with the fair and equal treatment of individuals so that they receive
what they deserve. However, discrimination disrupts this principle as it occurs
when individuals are treated unequally with regards to gender, race, background,
nation or etc., while the theory of justice requires that individuals should be
treated equally based on similarities. Therefore, arbitrarily discrimination
gives some individuals less opportunity for competing for jobs, thus it is
unjust. Consequently, in order to avoid discrimination issues, i.e unequal
treatment of individuals at the workplace, companies should be engaged in equal
opportunity programs, stating that these companies are equal opportunity
employers. With the help of this programs, companies will be able to ensure
that all employees are dealt equally and fairly.