Ethical and Criminal Responsibility Paper


Ethicaland Criminal Responsibility Paper


Employershave a moral responsibility to take precautionary or correctiveaction when the employer knows or has reason to discern, that theemployee can bring danger to others. This obligation is stipulated bythe Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act of 1970 (OSHA).According to OSHA requirements, a workplace should be free from bothrecognized and unrecognized hazards. Employers are obligated tocomply with the regulations, rules and standards set by OSHA byensuring that the workplace is safe. In this regard, an employee thatposes danger to other employees suffices to be the recognized hazard.As a result, since the employer is aware of the fact that theemployee in question can cause danger to others, it is imperativethat she or he should take the necessary action, to safeguard thesafety of the other employees. The failure of the employer to preventthe dangerous employee from imposing harm on other employees will bea contravention of the requirements of the Act, keeping in mind thatthere existed knowledge about the danger posed by the employee(Lucas, 2011). Some of the ethical obligations include conductingbackground checks on employees before hiring, revisiting police andcourt records about the employee.


Itdoes matter that the employer has unquestionable confirmation thatthe employee can cause danger to others or whether the employer hasonly a rational thought to that effect. The employer should,therefore, take different steps. In the case of the availability ofirrefutable evidence, the employer should act immediately so as toprevent the employee from harming others (UNEGEEW, 2012). A possibleaction may entail removing the employee from the workforce. Inaddition, the employer can talk to the employee with an objective ofcorrecting his or her negative acts or behavior. However, in the caseof reasonable suspicion, the course of action would entail contactingthe employee’s immediate supervisor who should speak to theemployee before to determining whether or not it is necessary to takepreventative action. The ability or inability of the supervisor toforesee the harm or danger posed by the employee determines whetheror not the supervisor should recommend the implementation of apreventative action to safeguard the coworkers. The failure of theemployer to take the necessary action in both cases is a breach ofthe negligence law that advocates for the prevention of foreseenunreasonable risks in the society.


Allcorporate laws state that the employer should always take animmediate action towards guaranteeing the safety and health of theemployee (OSHA, 2015). In such a case, it is apparent that it is theimmediate supervisor that has direct contact with the employee thatposes danger to other employees. Since the employer does not havedirect contact with the employee, the responsibility extends to theimmediate supervisor as well as the coworkers.

Theobligation also extends to the entire business since the failure ofthe employer to address the issue in question impacts negatively onthe reputation and image of the business. This results in reducedreturns for the business since consumers in the modern businessenvironment exhibit concern for corporate social responsibility. As aresult, the supervisor should interrogate the employee to ascertainwhether she or he is a threat to the security of the other employeesin the workplace.

Sincethe coworkers interact directly with the employee in question, thesupervisor can also ask other employees about the dangerous threatsor acts exhibited by the employee at the workplace to enable theimplementation of the best course of action.


Thereare situations where the employer owes ethical obligations to theemployee. However, this excludes the case of a reckless employee. Anexample of the situation is where the long-serving employee succumbsto epilepsy or other old-age effects that may impede the properexecution of duties in the workplace (FindLaw, 2016). In such cases,the employer owes an ethical obligation to the employee since theforce behind the danger is out of the employee’s control. However,in the event that the threats exhibited by the employee are voluntaryand within his or her control, the employer does not owe any ethicalobligation. Instead, the employer should take the immediate action ofgetting rid of the employee to guarantee the safety of the otherworkers.


Thetwo main torts demonstrated in the scenario are negligence andrecklessness (FindLaw, 2016). Negligence emanates when the employerhires the employee that poses danger to the other employees afterhaving prior knowledge of the employee’s dangerous behaviors oracts. This represents a case of negligent hiring on the part of theemployer. In such a case, the employer bears the criminal liability.

Thescenario also reveals a case of negligent retention where theemployer decides to retain the employee despite having previousknowledge of the employee’s bad behavior or actions. Recklessnessis evident on the part of the employee that poses danger to thecoworkers in the workplace. In the event that the worker in questiondiscriminates against other employees or harasses the other employeesvoluntarily, after having an in-depth understanding of the OSHA rulespertaining the proper conduct of employees in the workplace, theemployee also bears criminal lability for the occurrence of thecrime.


Theavailability of previous knowledge concerning the capability of theemployee to cause danger to other employees determines the criminalliability of the employer. As a result, the employer bears thecriminal liability in the event that the organization had previousknowledge of the employee’s behavior (Doyle, 2013). In such a case,the employer demonstrates a breach of the OSHA Act of 1970 (OSHA,2015). The failure of the employer to take preventative actionagainst the dangerous employee subjects the employer to WorkersCompensation Laws that require the employer to bear criminalliability for any losses incurred or suffered by the victim in theevent of occurrence of the suspected crime. The existence of previousknowledge also reveals incidences of negligent hiring and negligentretention that also contravene OSHA guidelines. In the event that theemployee is found guilty, she or he bears the criminal liability ofthe offense. However, the employee bears the liability if theemployer did not have prior knowledge about the employee and theassociated threat to other employees.


Doyle,C. (2013). CorporateCriminal Liability: An Overview of Federal Law.FAS.

FindLaw.(2016). Recklessness.Thomson Reuters.

FindLaw.(2016). WhenEmployees Pose a Safety Danger to Themselves or Co-Workers.

Lucas,S. (2011). What Can a Company Do With a Dangerous Employee? CNSNews.&gt

OccupationalHealth &amp Safety Administration (OSHA). (2015). Guidelinesfor Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social ServiceWorkers.

UnitedNations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.(2012). EmployerObligations under Law.UNEGEEW