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What does it mean when we say EPA? Well this means environmental protection agency and their mission is to protect all human health and also the environment we live on. The purpose of the environmental protection agency is to ensure that all Americans and others are protected from any harm and risk that may come from their living, work and learning area. They do this through many ways. However, the method that is most effective is the laws they have set in place to protect them, these laws are enforced fairly and legally. The EPA has come a long way from when they first started “Over the last several years, EPA has joined states, businesses, and community and environmental groups in experimenting with new environmental compliance approaches” (p1.21) Now what the environmental protection agency actually is, well it is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, agriculture, industry, and international trade etc., and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy. This will be for any business as well not just big corporations. So, all parts of society ranging from communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and
Overall, EPA will play a massive part on a business’s start-up or an organization that is looking to expand and grow. If the land is habitant then the EPA laws state that a business must go through a series of step like through the courts and pitch their business and what benefits they can bring to the area, so then they can be eventually granted a building permit. Now the that does not mean the business is clear to proceed, the business will have to provide either examples of; types of machinery, chemicals they will be using or producing, what material they will need for it and where will the unused materials be left. Barack Obama signed the Frank R. Lautenberg chemical safety for the 20th century act, this means that the “Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA),2 which is the major federal law regulating the safety of industrial and consumer chemicals in the United States” (p183).
A couple of business that will need to have check like for example a car wash company, now what they will have to take into consideration would be the chemicals they are using to wash the cars and how they will be dispensing those used chemicals, because in the past many car wash companies have illegally dispensed the harsh chemicals into the drains which is affecting the environment by destroying it with the harsh chemicals from the car wash. All this will have to be considered when looking to start a business, EPA will always employ a chain of people to run these checks to make sure no business is performing illegal actions. environmental risks. As you have read that the EPA does have massive impact on every person and organizations lives.
The EPA affects many of businesses processes to success, as said before the EPA provides rules and regulation for a business to prevent their employees and the environment around them. Acid Rain, climate change, mold, asbestos, small business, toxics release inventory, agriculture, automotive, construction, electric utilities, oil & gas extraction and transportation. All of these are the laws businesses will have follow them to not run the risk of damage to the environment and to also not get in trouble with the EPA.
What happens if a business is wanting to build on an area of land or do some construction on a specific piece of land? The business will have to go through the EPA before they can either consider building and look at specific areas, depending on the type of building that the business wants to do. The EPA have a section of laws for businesses that are looking to construct, the laws for construction are segregated into sections; air, water, waste, lead and general. Now all these sections will have their own specific laws and acts in them that a company will have to abide by if their builds contain that sort of building. The section air has three specific areas that it covers which is; Asbestos Laws and Regulations, Asbestos for Building Owners and Managers and for School Buildings, Ozone Layer Protection – Regulatory Programs. All of these listed cover specific steps that the construction for a new complex will have to go by for it to be legal and safe. So, for example if a business is building a new complex that will be open to employees and customers, then the EPA will have to run a series of tests to make sure that the build is abiding by the clean air act. The law specifies that “the EPA’s responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation’s air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer and includes provisions for the EPA to set national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants, including asbestos” (P2). From this a business can determine whether they are breaking any laws and if they are providing safe and a clean air in the living and working space.
Furthermore, this law just does not apply to the business that are looking to build, this will also apply the any building that is standing to date. The law required EPA to promulgate regulations requiring local educational agencies to inspect their school buildings for asbestos-containing building material, prepare asbestos management plans and perform asbestos response actions to prevent or reduce asbestos hazards. So, from this it is not just businesses the EPA look to support, their acts spread across vast amount of countries helping them make sure no harm comes to them and the environment we live in. The EPA has various different type of laws that cover everything that needs to be covered to ensure the safety of others. The fight to decrease pollution from the earth has been long and today remains an ongoing fight, and with these laws in place for the protection of the environment is really making a difference.
For a business to begin building or even start up a business, they must consult the EPA about their business plan to make sure that they are not committing any illegal actions and they will not eventually end up in court due to these actions. In this paper, I will be identifying another law of EPA as well as going into more depth about the EPA and how they have affected businesses in the earlier years. By this I will be providing statistics a business will follow by the EPA laws and what they will have to do to be been convicted of breaking a law by the agency.
To this day tens of thousands of businesses have been caught by polluting the air, water or soil; however rarely does the federal government prosecute the leaders of the businesses that break law. For Example, a crime report found more than 64,000 facilities in federal databases where there have been violations of U.S. environmental laws, but less than 0.5% result in prosecutions (1.). These statistics show that businesses are still breaking numerous laws on polluting the air, water and soil, meaning that they will have depending of the severity of the crime they will be taken to court and possibly prosecuted or fined. These statistics also shows that 0.5% of business don’t go as far as being prosecuted because EPA do not have the resources to take the crime to court.
Now the reason why these businesses are either taken to court or prosecuted are because of the laws that they have to follow. The laws they must follow for circumstances like polluting the surrounding area is called the Toxics Release Inventory Laws and Regulatory Activities, this act is split up into sections that cover all the areas a business will need to follow. The law is sectioned into three processes; Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Executive Orders. Of the three they will go into depth with the rules and regulations describing what a business will have follow. The Pollution Prevention act says that it focuses on mainly industry, government, and public attention on reducing the amount of pollution through cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. Opportunities for source reduction are often not realized because of existing regulations, the industrial resources required for compliance, focus on treatment and the disposal of materials. Now source reduction mainly refers to practices that reduce hazardous substances from being released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment or disposal. All together this means that business will have to take into consideration the different areas where they could possibly pollute the surrounding environment. For example; equipment or technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training, or inventory control will have to be considered.
The CFR section is the codification of rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the government. This is divided into 50 titles that represent areas subject to federal regulation, with environmental regulations contained mainly in title 40. In this it will give specific step by step details a large company will have to go through. The company will have to follow step like; Process for modifying covered chemicals and facilities, Covered facilities for toxic chemical release reporting, SIC and NAICS codes to which this Part applies, Thresholds for reporting, Alternate threshold and certification, Lower thresholds for chemicals of special concern, Reporting requirements and schedule for reporting, Exemptions (2.). Overall many businesses today are caught out by these steps mainly because they do not take the time to follow these steps, they do this because they believe that they will not be caught by the EPA.
Social media plays an important role in how business’s handled public relations and their ethics outside of the organization. Top officials in an organization such as the owner, chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), and even down to the local manager and crew members have to limit what they say on their social media accounts. They also have to conduct themselves in a more positive way, especially if they run an organization that sells merchandise to the public. The importance of professionalism inside and outside of the workplace is of the essence because even in the instance of using derogatory language towards an individual while casually walking down the street could impact the organization’s sales and popularity around the country. One thing business owners, whether it’s big or small, want is to have a positive image to the public so that their products will sell and continue to make them more money. With camera phones being everywhere at almost any second of the day, videos of employees from owners to crew members doing unethical practices are shared all over the internet almost simultaneously.
It only takes one person to disrupt the company’s ethical balance. For example, the company Uber was recently boycotted because the owner of Uber supported Donald Trump’s views on the “Muslim Ban,” which was not a familiar theme throughout the country. Though it was a surprise to Trump supporters, it was not a surprise to most of the country of the reasons why a lot of the country was boycotting the Uber corporation. When the country views a company’s owner as a Negative Role Model (NRM) then that leaves a negative effect on the products ability to sell and produce revenue. According to Baden (2014) “NRMs were more likely to lead to vows to boycott certain companies’ products” (165), Baden even went to the extent to interview an individual that stated “My personal research on the Nestle Boycott has made me more aware of the poor behavior of Nestle, and I have attempted to educate my friends about this.” (165) The Nestles boycott started in 1977 when the concern of their “aggressive marketing” of breast milk substitutes in infant formula among the poor was brought to light. Though it is not outside of the organization, it still shows that anything could potentially jeopardize the company’s image to the public. The type of milk that was used in the Nestles infant formula that was served to the poor caused a public outrage and ultimately sparked a boycott towards the company.
Ethics in an organization doesn’t just apply to how company officials and employees carry themselves outside of the organization, but it also pertains to how they do their research on certain issues, how they obtained the information, and if the information is correct. Research obtained from social media is often viewed as an uncredible source from a professional standpoint, and when individual businesses provide information on their social media accounts such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook they are setting themselves up for failure because the public would start to view them as a distrustful organization. In Decamps’ (2015) article, he stated that “Controversy over the Facebook study of emotional contagion (Kramer et., 2014) highlighted several ethical issues that arise when social media are used in research, including appropriate informed consent, the role of deception, and what counts as research requiring ethical oversight altogether.” (98)
Another thing that could negatively affect organizations ethical views from the public is if something happens in society or on social media and the organization is stuck on the topic for an extended amount of time. For example, Rauschnabel, Kammerlander and Ivens stated that “after the explosion of BP’s oil platform Deepwater Horizon in 2010, newspapers and television shows extensively reported on the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to negative brand perceptions and a decrease in revenues.” (383) The fact that the newspapers and predominately news related television shows stayed on that one single topic for an unusual amount of time made those shows receive negative attention from the public. Social media is a big part of the world that we all live in today, whether you believe it or not, social media and the internet is an essential aspect of connecting the entire world together on one platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are examples of social media, and they all have the ability to connect a person in America to people in Germany, Australia, and even Japan. Individuals who use social media use it as an outlet to display and release their inner thoughts publicly to their followers or to anyone who wants to view their page if it isn’t private. According to Jones and Vaughn (2011), “Social networking sites allow users to create web-based profiles where individuals can interact” (220), so many people believe that personal social media accounts shouldn’t affect a person’s job security. However, that isn’t the case because time after time people post racist, discriminatory, and politically incorrect statements that affect not only affect the people they are targeting but other individuals who don’t necessarily feel the same way as that particular person.
CEO’s, COO’s, Owners, and employees in the main companies around the world have to limit what they say about their political views because issues such as racism can help or hurt the company based on the stance that person takes on social media. According to Hardy
(2016), “Non-profit societies, in particular, seem to be afflicted with the idea that you must not take a political stance, although really in most countries (including the United States) what they are prevented from doing is lobbying to influence legislation.” (2) Companies in the United States have great relationships with all different types of people and countries, they do not want their customers to think that they are choosing sides within politics because when a person that represents a successful company posts a statement on social media, for all of the world to see, that is not supported by the company and majority of a particular group of people. They could lose those great relationships and partnerships with other businesses well, which would lead to the loss of mass amounts of revenue that would have potentially been grossed.
What the employees have to be mindful of their posts including statements, photos, and videos because it can affect their employment even before getting hired. Many times, Human Resource managers order surveillance of potential job candidates to figure out if they’re fit for the job. Though it might not be illegal to do so, it is often viewed as unethical even by the very same managers that are committing the act. According to LeMay (2014), she conducted a survey of 212 people, which half were HR personnel, and said that “31 percent said they believe that using social media for screening applicants is unethical.” (21) Committing this act may drive away future employees because of privacy issues. People in America value their privacy unless they want to be public with their life, so screening an individual for a job application through their social media is completely unethical.
In conclusion, the internet is the biggest asset to society today, and social media is becoming more and more important to how society functions. Social media allows people to express themselves to people all around the world and connect with people they might not ever meet in their life. It allows for global news to spread faster than watching the weather and news channels. Instagram and Twitter can be used as marketing tools for many companies as well. But adverse effects of it is that whatever someone posts stays on the internet forever, even if they try to delete it and that could be detrimental to someone in the workforce because they might have misspoken at a time of hard times, and their boss could go back and see that very post and decide to fire that person. People should be very careful what they choose to put out there on social media because it could come back around and be detrimental to their personal and professional lives later down the line.
Social media might be the most powerful tool in the world at the moment, simply because of the number of people that use social media apps including Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and many other apps. Facebook has the most power out of every other social media app by far because of the number of people that use it. According to socialnomics.net, Facebook had 1.609 billion active monthly user accounts in 2016 in comparison to Instagram’s 430 million and Twitters 325 million, the worlds’ population is approximately 7.4 billion. The worst thing a company can do is have its employees mistreat a paying customer while he/she or another person is filming it because that video is most certainly going to be on a social media app for the entire world to see.
Owners of companies have to be mindful of who they hire because one simple mistake from an employee could tarnish the entire company’s reputation and cause a dramatic loss of revenue in the future. For bigger companies such as United Airlines, they could withstand a substantial amount of revenue loss but to other smaller like the local auto shop, that could be the end of their business. Organizations could also lose revenue because of the mistreatment of their employees. This can occur when a manager or someone of power violates their power and gets a false sense of entitlement because that person feels like they can do and say whatever they want to their employees without consequence, but if the manager starts to say racist or disrespectful terms to an employee, and it is recorded then that could affect the entire company’s reputation about how they treat their employees. That could lead to a customer boycott and even a strike within the organization itself. According to Tost, Gino, and Larrick “we argue that when a formal leader experiences a heightened subjective sense of power, he or she tends to dominate group discussions and interactions… Consequently, communication and information sharing in the team is limited, and performance is diminished.” Therefore, the company will lose revenue because the employees’ views don’t feel respected, causing them to underperform or even quit the job entirely.
Some organizations have a hard time understanding how much social media can affect their businesses, especially the Fortune 500 companies such as Ford and Walmart because their owners and CEO’s are much older than an average teenager that uses social media apps daily. The CEO of Ford is Mark Fields who is 56 years old, and Walmart’s CEO is Carl Douglas McMillon who is 50 years old. Respectively I don’t think that they fully acknowledge the power and influence that social media has on their company. A recurring thing that happens in organizations is the use of social media to screen applicants in the recruiting process. Human Resource managers have to be mindful of the law because using social media to screen an individual during the recruiting process because according to the article, Managing the Effects of Social Media in Organizations, “using social media sites to obtain background information may result in legal actions against employers. Unsuccessful applicants may file a claim of discrimination if they discover the hiring organization used social media to gathered personal information.” (Schultz, Koehler, Philippe, and Coronel, 43) Social media is used as an outlet for many individuals that use the wide range of apps, therefor if the organization finds something on the candidates Twitter app that they don’t agree with, then they could be subject to a lawsuit.
There have been many instances recently that have hurt big companies such as Pepsi and United Airlines. One incident happened when United Airlines recently had a passenger dragged off of their plane because the flight was “overbooked” and a flight crew had recently learned that they also needed to board the flight even though all of the passengers had boarded and sat down. The airline offered $850 to a doctor that had patients waiting for him at work the next day; he refused to leave the aircraft and the airline called the police to have the passenger physically removed from the aircraft, which resulted in him smashing his face into a seat and being dragged off by the police. The CEO of the company had to issue three apologies because his first two were deemed “insensitive” by the public. This caused an uproar around the country with many people deciding to boycott the airline, resulting in their stock market to plummet and causing the company to lose 800 million dollars at one point according to vanityfair.com. United Airlines is now one of the worst airlines to fly because of that incident, and there are many other instances where this particular airline has publicly humiliated one of their customers. Their power in the airline market has diminished because of their constant mistakes, “We define brand dominance in terms of the brand’s market share: a higher share indicates greater dominance.” (Borah and Tellis, 145) The airline has lost nearly one billion dollars due to one incident that was shared over social media, if social media isn’t one of the most powerful tools in society today then I don’t know what is.
One last unethical practice that can be found in a business regardless of size is something known as unethical accounting. Like other unethical practices, unethical accounting is also illegal. Upon further research of unethical accounting I found a lady by the name of Randi Rowe. Randi has a long list of outstanding accomplishments, and she writes an article listing some examples of unethical decisions that are made by some businesses. Regarding unethical accounting she writes, “Unethical accounting occurs when businesses bend accounting rules or falsify their financial statements to present a more favorable picture than actually exists” (Rowe, 2017). She also mentions a business by the name of Enron who she claims did falsify their record books and now they are bankrupt.
The position of accountant in any business must be held by someone who is honest. Muhannad Atmeh and Husam Al-Khadash did a study to see the factors that affect cheating behavior among accounting students. In this study, they found that “many” student do cheat, and “few” never cheat. This proves to be a problem for future employers because the authors also said that past cheating is a strong predictor of future cheating (Atmeh, M., & Al-Khadash, 2008). Employers, specifically the human resource department must recruit potential employees that they feel will not cheat in accounting positions.
While rewriting your numbers is unethical, it is also illegal in most instances. A dishonest employee could cost the company millions of dollars. Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted in 2002 and it was meant to keep businesses from falsifying their financial information. According to the act, a person who knowingly certifies reports that say the business is making more than it is can be fined up to $5,000,000 dollars and/or up to 20 years in prison. The alternative is certifying reports without reviewing them first, and ultimately finding out that the reports were inaccurate can be fined up to $1,000,000 dollars and/or up to 10 years in prison (Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 2002). So why would anyone lie on the reports if the consequences are so severe?
According to Duska, there are six ways a person might choose to be unethical in their decision to write or verify incorrect profit sheets. He developed an acronym, “W.I.S.A.R.D.” (Duska, 2017). The six items are as follows: weakness of will, ignorance, slippery slope, arrogance, rationalization, and docility. To quickly summarize each of these, weakness of will simply means that we all have a certain price we can be persuaded by to do unethical things. Ignorance is referring to doing the wrong thing because you thought that was the only option and in your mind, it was the right thing to do. Slippery slope is talking about when you find a time to make a small unethical decision once and think you will never do it again, but over time you do it more. Arrogance refers to not recognizing your own flaws due to pride, and thus being unethical only makes you “better.” Rationalization is coming up with a good reason to do a bad thing, and finally, docility refers to people who strive to disobey authority.
According to Arieli and her article on the Values of Business School, she says that business schools are expected to educate their students to embrace ethical and prosocial values (Arieli, 2016). Unfortunately, in her study she found that business schools aren’t preforming as they should be and that freshman, upon graduation as a senior, are only slightly more ethical than when they first started (Arieli, 2016).
How can employers rely on hiring ethical employees, specifically accountants, if the schools they are attending prior to working aren’t strengthen the ethics of their students? Drumwright writes that students can learn ethics in college if they are taught behavioral ethics which includes psychology, sociology, and related fields (Drumwright, Prentice, and Biasucci, 2015). When comparing both Drumwright and Arieli’s articles together, it can be concluded that students can learn ethics in college but it is not enough to make a difference. Brenkurt wrote an article questioning if we have made any advancements in ethical behavior from years past to now. He mentions that we have made some great steps toward being more ethical, but we have also had many failures (Brenkurt, 2010). Brenkurt brings up a very strong point in his article. He says, “Even if business ethicists can rationally defend what businesses should be doing, unless we can relate this to how businesses can come to operate in those ways, our normative arguments will lack power, persuasiveness, and effectiveness” (Brenkurt, 2010). In our society, we tend to point out things that were done wrong. We criticize a business for acting unethically, but do not offer an alternative for how the business should have acted. So, we end up in a downward spiral with businesses trying to do something, finding out its unethical, trying something else, determining that that was also unethical, and so on.
It seems that no matter who it hires, someone will always be unethical, but is there a way that a business can weaken unethical practices? According to an article written by Marta, Women tend to be more ethical than their male counterparts (Marta, Singhapakdi, Kraft, 2008). The simple answer is to hire only women employees, but this also is illegal. The EEOC or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires business to not discriminate against a certain class of people. Including men and women. Why not hire men and women, but only promote the women into managerial positions? This is also illegal under the civil rights act of 1964. “It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her sex in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment” (CSOSA, 2017). Human resource employees must be extra careful with their plans for the company because it is so easy to get sued. The intentions may be good, but in the end the legality of the decision is all that matters.
There is only one instance where a business can legally discriminate against someone and that is when a business has been deemed BFOQ or bona fide occupational qualifications. An example of a business with a BFOQ is Hooters. The waitresses are all female. In order to get hired at Hooters as a waitress you must be female and have a predetermined breast size. Another example of a business that can use a BFOQ is fire departments. To work as a firefighter, you must undergo a physical test known as the CPAT and be able to lift a certain amount of weight. If you are a typical female then you may not be hired due to the physical demand of the test (Annillo, 2017).
To obtain a BFOQ exception “an employer must prove that no member of the group you are discriminating against could perform the job” (Reuters, 2017). Using the above examples, it is not safe for a woman to drag a man down the stairs of a burning house because she is unable to carry him, but some women can pass the physical challenge and rules out a BFOQ exception. For Hooters, the way they can get the BFOQ exception is because they argue that no man can have the breast size they require of the woman. For businesses struggling with unethical accounting, there is no need for a BFOQ. Both men and women are able to perform the jobs asked of them and this rules out the BFOQ.
So how does a business go about making sure their employees are acting ethically when working with the cash and numbers of a business? I believe one way a business can help to ensure ethical employee actions is to remind employees how serious the act of rewriting numbers is and the consequences it holds. Stories show that a person can go to jail for simply lying (McCord, Greenhalgh, and Magasin, 2004). Martha Stewert, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton have all been convicted of lying. Lying is indeed a crime. This is no different in business. I believe that reminding your employees that lying is a crime would help prevent unethical acts.
While unethical practices outside of the business can prove to be problematic and they do need to be fixed as best as possible, businesses also offer many positives. Businesses bring wealth to the state in which they are located (Writer, 2012). Just like me and you, businesses have to pay state and federal taxes. This is money the state uses to keep its upkeep such as roads, parks, etc… We benefit from their contributions by having roads that aren’t full of pot-holes and parks that aren’t overgrown. We get to go to most of these businesses and buy things we want or need such as Kroger and Wal-Mart. Another major benefit that businesses bring to us is jobs. Not only are businesses providing us with products and revenue in our state, but they also keep some of us employed. According to
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