Sample Ethics Paper on Johnson Controls Inc Case


Johnson Controls Inc. was a company manufacturing lead batteries. The company used to employ both male and female employees. Over time, it was noticed that the lead used in the manufacturing process could build up in tissues of the exposed persons. It could be passed on to the unborn children and result in serious physical and mental complications in the children. Consequently, the company came up with a Fetal Protection policy that prevented fertile women that had a possibility of having children in the future from working in its plants (Greenhouse par. 1). The fetal protection policy covered the women who could not provide medical evidence of infertility from the childbearing age up to seventy years. The company prevented the women from jobs that had high lead exposure, as well as all production jobs. Women were rendered ineligible for all the job postings in this company, although they claimed that only 35% of the occupations in the company were unsafe for pregnant women. A group of women that were impacted by the fetal policy petitioned the policy in the District Court. The women were supported by labor unions and other rights groups that claimed the policy was a contravention of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII.


The courts held that it was a discriminatory policy and contravened the Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits gender-specific fetal protection policies. Consequently, the courts decided against Johnson Controls Inc. It was further stated that the fact that the company still allowed fertile men to work under exposure to lead amounted to discrimination against women who had similar fertility status. The policy was found biased, and therefore, revoked by the courts (Greenhouse par. 4). The ruling of the court was based in legal technicalities while the policy was informed by concern for the health of the children born of the women working in the company. When the company was formulating the fetal protection policy, it was not done out of malice, but was done to protect the welfare and health of their children.

The court, however, only considered the legal side of the policy leading to the decision that was made. It was irresponsible of the women and the unions that filed the class suit to want to sacrifice the health of their future children in exchange for equality in the workplace. The women that complained about the policy seemed to be concerned about their lifetime comfort as opposed to the well-being of their children in the future. On the other hand, the company should have made considerations and consultations before coming up with the fetal protection policy. It should have, for instance, established whether the women wanting to work there had intentions of having children in the future before coming up with a blanket fetal protection policy.


The position taken by the company was morally sound, as it sought to protect the health of the future offspring of the women. The major problem with the policy was only in the way it was implemented. The women should have been involved in the process of coming up with the policy to come up with a policy that would be acceptable to all while safeguarding the welfare of the future generations. The deontological approach to ethics cannot apply in this case, as the law is designed contrary to the good intentions of the company’s leadership.



Work Cited

Greenhouse, Linda. “Court Backs Right Of Women To Jobs With Health Risks.” N.p., 2013. Web. 7 Mar. 2018.