Is it Ethical for Barnett to Adopt the ” Fetal Protection Policy “?

Barnett, Inc “Fetal Protection Policy” Scenario

After learning that when women are exposed to high lead levels their fetuses may be harmed, Barnett, Inc. adopted a “fetal protection policy.” The policy prohibited women of childbearing age from working in the company’s Battery Division where lead is used in the production process. Female employees objected to this policy by arguing that it deprived them of employment in the higher paying jobs in the Battery Division. Is it ethical for Barnett to adopt the “fetal protection policy”? Is Barnett obligated to protect its employees from this risk? Remember to use the supplemental materials to answer the four aspects set forth in the instructions.  (West, 20003, p. 822, 40-8)

Is it Ethical for Barnett to Adopt the ” Fetal Protection Policy “?

The Barnett, Inc adapted the fetal protection policy prohibiting women of child bearing age from working in Battery Division of the company since it exposes workers to lead that is medically said to affect the health of fetus. According to Hu et al.(2006), fetal lead exposure contains an advance impact on neurodevelopment, with an effect which might be most distinct in the first trimester and effectively determined by measuring the content of lead in the maternal blood, or maternal plasma. Considering this aspect, and considering that some womendo not realize they are pregnant until four to eight weeks of pregnancy. This implies that in casea woman unknowingly gets pregnant while working in this section, she may subject the fetus to serious health hazard. To safeguard women from such occurrences, the company prevents all women in child bearing age from working in this section of the company.

Fetal protection policies refer to policies that try to safeguard fetus from workplace risks. In the past, similar policies were accused of promoting gender inequality in private sectors. The policies were also found to violate equal employment laws. They were also found to be inapplicable for bona fide occupation qualification (BFOQ) defense. According to the previous reviews, an employer has no ability to determine whether the work environment is risky for pregnant woman (U.S. Legal, 2018). Although the company uses lead whose exposure during pregnancy can harm the baby, the company may need to demonstrate the amount of lead it exposes its workers compared to the allowed amount. Only then can one tell whether the amount workers are exposed can be regarded as high level to an extent of affecting infants. Moreover, current policy applies not just to pregnant women in the company, but to all women in childbearing age. This subjects all women into a gender based discrimination at the workplace, including those who are not planning to have children any time soon and those who have completed children bearing business, despite still being at childbearing age. According to complains, the Battery Division provides higher salaries compared to any other unit in the company. The application of this policy will thus mean that the company will have prevented women from being among the highest earners in the company.Childbearing age stretches along the active career years for any worker where people try to enhance personal development to climb the career ladder. Blocking women from working in this section during their prime time of the career will only mean that no women will ever have enough skills and experience to work in battery division even after the childbearing age has passed. This would only mean that battery division is “women no go zone. “

According to the country’s occupational safety and health, an employer has the right to protect its workers from any occupational hazards. Actually, the employer is required by the law to ensure workers safety and wellbeing while at work. It is highly justifiable for the company to set policies that focus on protecting workers from work related hazards (, 2016). However, while doing so, the employer should ensure that there are no aspects of discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity, culture or sexuality among others. Although the current policy by Barnett, Inc is meant to protect workers, it is highly discriminative, limiting women’s ability to work in battery division for a certain period of their life, despite there being a possibility that majority will not have children during their stay in the company. 

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