Aluminum Fencing Company (AFC)

| June 9, 2016

Question
Aluminum Fencing Company (AFC) was a sizeable distributor of chain-link fencing for commercial and residential use. The company had four regional locations in the United States. Each location included a large warehouse facility for storing the chain link parts needed to assemble the fencing. At every location there was a president; a director of workplace security; and various vice presidents, senior managers, and managers in charge of shipping and receiving, training, computer service and maintenance, accounts payable and receivable, advertising, marketing, customer service, and sales.

Spencer and Frank were employed at the southern-region facility. They were both hourly employees, with no employment contract. Spencer was an accounts payable associate, and Frank was a clerk in the shipping and receiving department. Both were part of a labor union and were covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Although the men worked at completely different locations within the facility – at opposite ends of the physical plant – they initially met at a division meeting. Then one day, shortly after they had met, the two happened to run into each other at a local restaurant on their lunch breaks.

After that time, Spencer and Frank kept in contact in an extremely discreet manner and began seeing each other after working hours. The majority of the time, they met at one or the other’s residence. When they did go out, it was after dark, in a part of town that was at least 30 miles away from the AFC facility. Their relationship began to get serious, but they still did not indicate to others that they were more than casual acquaintances through their employment with AFC.

One day, Spencer and Frank arranged to bring their lunches and meet at lunchtime. Their meeting place was a deserted storage room, used to house sensitive company computer software. Because Frank knew there was a lock on the door and no one ever used that storage room, Spencer and Frank felt safe to meet there unnoticed. They decided, in advance, to take different routes to the storage room and to arrive and depart at separate times.

After they finished with their lunches, one thing led to another and they engaged in a sexual liaison. Since they had taken strict precautions to ensure that they would not be seen together, they did not worry that their sexual relationship in general or their sexual encounter in the storage room would be discovered. What they did not realize was that there were hidden security cameras in every room that housed sensitive data, machinery, or equipment, and the room in which they met still had a surveillance camera behind one of the walls.

The director of workplace security brought the fact that a camera had captured

Spencer and Frank in a compromising position to the attention of both Spencer’s and

Frank’s managers. Both employees were fired and then decided to bring suit against AFC based on sexual discrimination.

Did AFC have the right to fire Frank and Spenser over something they did in a very discreet manner during their lunch break?
Do Frank and Spencer have a legitimate lawsuit based upon sexual discrimination?
Is there an issue with employment-at-will?
Is there a right to privacy issue?
Using deontological, utilitarian and virtue ethics as your guides, define each of these three ethical theories and discuss how you believe the company would act based upon each of these three ethical viewpoints.

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