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Comprehensive Analysis of Environmental Practices and Customer Needs

1. Code of Conduct for Aldi

Aldi is a chain of retail stores which are headquartered in Essen and Mülheim in Germany. The report aims to take into consideration the environmental situation and the needs of the customer in the code of conduct that the employees and managers in Aldi stores need to follow. The guidelines are derived from the Corporate Guidelines that Aldi has in place and encompass the principles of Corporate Responsibility.

1.1 About the Code of Conduct Standards

This document tries to construct a policy which will adhere to the standards of Global Business Ethics Policy. The document will serve as a brief overview of the legal, environmental and ethical framework of conduct which Aldi’s strives to follow everyday. The report recommends that you are still unsure about your actions after having consulted this report, please seek assistance from your manager or co-workers.

1.2 Conduct with Employees

Aldi strives to establish a cooperative and healthy work environment for all its employees and hopes to promote an environment where diversity is understood as a strength. Employees are encouraged to approach management if they feel they are being discriminated against by their coworkers or superiors on the basis of sex/gender/race/sexual preference/cultural and/or religious belief.

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1.3 Safety of Workers and Customers

Aldi workers are expected to train periodically in safety procedures and regulations so that they can help customers and officials when the need arises. They are expected to report if there has been any incident where the safety of the employees or customers has been compromised. Aldi holds the safety training of its employees to the highest standards and safety training officers will be employed every six months to train and update the employees on the safety standards that need to be followed in order to prepare the employees for all kinds of emergency situations.

For the safety of the workers and the customers, employees are prohibited from carrying any form of weapons inside the premises of the stores. This includes warehouses and store rooms of Aldi as well. While company policy cannot strictly prohibit customers from carrying guns as well, Aldi advises its employees to discourage customers from openly carrying, for the safety and security of both the employees and the other customers.

Aldi is strictly against the use of recreational drugs insider the store premises by the employees and the customers and anyone found engaging in the usage of drugs will immediately be asked to leave. Employees face permanent expulsion if found doing the same.

1.4 Conflict of Interest

Conflict of interest occurs when there is a fundamental difference of goals between the goals of the employees and the goals of the organization. Aldi’s understands that in situations like these, there is a threat of professionalism being compromised and company policy being violated.

For these reasons, Aldi discourages any form of personal engagement or business partnership with any employees/managers of any rival companies. The company requires employment disclosure if any form of services or any goods are being sourced from any retail chain or competitive business and these goods and/or services must only be availed in accordance to the deal that is offered by Aldi’s and not at a better/worse price.

Aldi’s requires all employees, in all positions, to participate in the annual disclosure, in addition to having the responsibility of giving disclosure immediately if a conflict of interest occurs. If an employee has a question regarding if an action is a conflict of interest or not, it is advised that they consult their manager. This document should not be directly taken as a list encompassing all forms of conflicts which may occur as there are several more examples which aren’t cited.

1.5 Confidentiality

All employees of Aldi’s are expected to follow the regulations of confidentiality, which includes information like the information on suppliers, technological tools used in stores, plans for marketing and expansion, storage and transportation information, internal management techniques and so on.

If an employee is no longer working at Aldi’s, they are expected to turn in all the paperwork and identification they received from Aldi’s before leaving the premises.

Employees are expected to protect the information related to the company and not discuss them with anyone who is not cleared to receive that information. Some ways in which employees can ensure that is by handling company information only when they are in the premises and not remotely or in public places where they can be heard. Mishandling of information may lead to termination and/or legal repercussions for the employees.

1.6 Protection of Data

Data protection includes employees storing and processing data only in accordance to the company policy. Employees are not allowed to breach the data storage in any way or transfer data, which includes contact information of suppliers and clients, to unauthorised sources. The virtual security and data of the company is a part of the company property and it must be treated as such. Any indication of data transfer or replication by any employee of Aldi’s, if discovered, will lead to immediate termination of the employee. Employees are not advised to use the work computer/phones or the devices in which they store information about the company.

1.7 Bribes

Employees must never accept any form of monetary or otherwise form of compensation from any individual in exchange for services or access. Conversely, they must also never compensate any individual, during their work hours or related to their work. Any employee found doing that is liable to be immediately terminated and/or face legal repercussions. Bribery may include any form of monetary or non-monetary compensation, in the form of goods or services.

2. Case Study and Questions

The following section will consider the case study which is given in the second question. The question will be considered in light of three ethical theories, namely deontology, utilitarianism and social justice theory.

2.1 Deontology

The ideal of deontology argues that despite once personal beliefs, an individual must always adhere to the moral obligations that they have for other individual and for the society as a whole. This theory asks individuals to always adhere to the ethical standards that the society has set, no matter what the individual ethical standards of the person are (Chonko, 2012). It is important to realise that deontology propagates different perspectives in terms of what morality means when it comes to harming individuals. While theological perspectives underlie that innocent individuals should not be harmed in any way, ethics developed by philosopher Immanuel Kant dictate that even if the offence is very small, the individual needs to be punished in accordance with the rules that have been set by the society. According to deontologist, the individual is not to be concerned with what the other individuals are doing, rather they need to be concerned with how much good they themselves are doing. That should be the case if the individual doing good would maximise the overall outcome of the good which has been produced, by the individuals around them as well (Rawlings and McNaughton, 2007).

According to the deontological perspective, it is right to turn over the boy for the crime he committed, because Kantian ethics dictate that. However, deontology also dictates that the overall outcome should in total contribute to the good of the society instead of just immediate good. If the boy was handed to the authorities, it is likely he may lose a hand and become disabled. This may lead him to foster resentful emotions towards the state and society which will be harmful for the overall society as he may resort to anti-social activities. Treating him with kindness and hiding him from the authorities may lead him to become thankful and a tendency to become a better person while growing up.

2.2 Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is a theory which was first popularly propounded by Jeremy Bentham and later on it was propounded on the basis of Bentham’s claims by John Stuart Mill. Although it is argued that it was present in the philosophies of thinkers like Adam Smith as well, it acquired the separate status of philosophy only with the the advent of Bentham’s theory. The basic philosophy that utilitarianism propounds is that individuals are motivated by acquiring pleasure and avoiding pain. The basic assumption is that people are the best judges of their own good. People want to individual increase their own security, by means of providing themselves with security and the state must help the individual in acquiring these things (Mulgan, 2014).

Based on this understand, it would seem that the state in which this incident took place has failed to provide the individuals with the basic needs for their security. The people need basic things like food and shelter to survive and this is what needs to be provided by the state for the people to survive. If the state was unable to provide the people with these things, then people may resort to their own means of ensuring their survival, and that may include stealing. Additionally, if utilitarians believe that individuals are the best judge of their own good, I may choose to not to hand over the thief as I believe that would maximise my pleasure. Hence, from a utilitarian perspective.

2.3 Social Justice Theory

Simply put, social justice theory propounds that people should have equal access to all the resources which is needed to lead a quality life. In contemporary philosophy, John Rawls, in his seminal work A Theory of Justice (1971) wrote extensively on what distributive justice means. Although the ideal of distributive justice was popular during the Marxian tradition as well, which postulated that everything that is produced in a state needs to be distributed to the workers and owners equally. Distributive justice claims equality not just in terms of opportunity, but also in terms of the distribution of goods. Competing claims surround how exactly this will be achieved, whereby some argue that the mechanism of a state and government is not needed when distributive justice is achieved. On the other hand, social contract theorists like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes argue that the purpose of a state is to ensure distributive justice and without it, no form of justice is going to be possible (Jost and Kay, 2010).

According to this line of thought, it is the state which is in the wrong and as it has failed to implement the ideal of distribute justice completely as young children are having to resort to theft to feed their family. If distributive justice bases the legitimacy of the state on distributive justice and argue the very reason the state was created was to ensure that individuals have equitable distribution of resources in the society. If the child is stealing, then it is obvious that the state has not been successful in equally distributing its goods. Frankena (1962) observes that society isn’t just made up of laws and procedures, it is also formulated of informal law systems, with are governed by ethics and morality and an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong. This is the informal sector of laws which govern the society. If I am to turn over the little thief to the authorities, I would be in violation of the informal rules that govern society, which is governed by my conscience. Additionally, I would feel that since the state is not providing to meet the needs of the people, which is why the little boy is stealing food. Rationally speaking, one could think if the state is not fulfilling the duties they have towards the citizens, if an individual is to break a law to sustain themselves and/or their starving family, I would not feel liable to fulfil my duty towards the state as I’d feel the state is not fulfilling their duty towards me and my fellow citizens.

3. Job Adverts

According to the Equality Act of 2010 in the UK legal system, there are many laws which come into force in order to prevent discrimination in any form in the UK (www.gov.uk). The purpose of this section is to examine two job advertisements and understand if there are any discriminatory elements in the job description or the profile. In both the job descriptions, it is found that there is some element of violation in terms of the laws which have been laid down by the UK government for ensuring equal opportunity among individuals.

Job 1: Domestic Violence Hostel Workers

The job description says that there is a requirement for two graduates from any discipline to train with a program in the local council. The educational degree which was the requirement for this job is graduation and a strong interest in public service and have the confidence to undertake public service activities.

There are three points where the description of the job may be considered as discriminatory, namely the fact that the job asks for ‘asian women aged 18-35’. Firstly, according to the Race Relations Act of 1965, which sought to eliminate racial discrimination from all aspects of society in the UK. This law was in light of the fact that there are several immigrant groups living in the UK and one of the most important areas of discrimination in the UK is employment opportunities (www.parliament.uk).

The Equality Act of 2010 outlaws discrimination based on age, race, sex, gender reassignment, disability, religion and/or belief, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership and maternity status or pregnancy (www.gov.uk). Based on the job description, the qualification for the job is based on the qualification of graduation and an interest in public service. In no way is this job related to any special qualifications which may come from being a woman from an asian heritage who may be aged between 18 and 35. The Equality Act explicitly states that that individuals cannot be directly discriminated against like this.

Because the ideal of positive discrimination in the UK is not present, under the Equality Act of 2010, technically speaking the job description cannot relay that the job intended to only invite asian women applicants because legally it cannot ask for this requirement on the basis fo positive discrimination (Ibid). Hence, the job description doesn’t present a job description that follows the equality and equal opportunities law in the UK and thus isn’t legal.

Job 2: Public Relations Opportunity

This job description calls for two positions in the public relations department of a company, the job is an entry-level job and requires the candidate to be over 18 years of age. The job asks for a work permit to work in the UK and this particular feature is a requirement of citizenship and cannot be understood as a discriminating factor.

A notable feature in this job description is that the job calls for individuals for disabilities. While it has been observed above that the concept of positive discrimination is not legally practiced, the Equality Act of 2010 also calls for the provision of laws which will help people access all kinds of professional opportunities and jobs (Ibid). The legal ramifications of the act dictates that everything must be done by employers and companies to ensure that their hiring system doesn’t discriminate on the basis of disability. Additionally, an individual can choose to keep their disability from the employer or information about their health, unless if gaining that information is important for the job description. For example, in the operation of certain kinds of heavy machinery, it is important that the person who is operating the machinery doesn’t take certain kinds of medication or have certain kinds of health problems which may prove to be dangerous for the individual or for other people who are working in the same area (equalityhumanrights.com). Hence, in matters like this, employers can ask their potential employees or employees to divulge their health or disability related information. Consequentially, if an employer doesn’t decide to employ a certain person because of a disability which they cannot have in their line of work, the employer is not discriminating the individual because of their disability. The individual is simply fulfilling a job requirement, the same way the individual will be fulfilling a job requirement of being a graduate or having a work visa.

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However, the Section 159 of the Equality Act of 2010 dictates that positive discrimination may take place if the disadvantage is something that individuals have faced and become capable to an extent despite it. This law applies for a group of people who have overcome as disadvantage which is not faced by the general population. However, the legal terms dictate that while employers can train people with disabilities so that they can reach the same levels of capabilities as people without disadvantages, the jobs which they offer will ultimately be have to based on merit. In that sense, encouraging disabled people will ensure that the work environment is a disabled-friendly work environment. (xperthr.com).

In this sense, the second job advertisement can be understood as something which doesn’t strictly fall in the bounds of legal terms in the Equality Act of 2010. What could have been a better description of the job that was advertised could have been that it should have advertised an equal opportunities job, where the employer could’ve described that in this job, the employers and the organization encourages the applications of individuals who come from all backgrounds and also encourages people who are differently abled. Additionally, more care must be given to the usage of words in the job description, it may come across as offensive to some if the language describes the people as ‘disabled’. Instead, they could address the people as differently abled.

References

Chonko, L., 2012. Ethical theories. DSEF, The University of Texas at Arlington, pp.1-5.

Copp, D. ed., 2005. The Oxford handbook of ethical theory. Oxford University Press.

Mulgan, T., 2014. Understanding utilitarianism. Routledge.

Jost, J.T. and Kay, A.C., 2010. Social justice: History, theory, and research.

Rawls, J., 2009. A theory of justice. Harvard university press.

2021. Race Relations Act 1965. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 January 2021].

GOV.UK. 2021. Equality Act 2010: Guidance. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 January 2021].

Equalityhumanrights.com. 2021. Disability Discrimination | Equality And Human Rights Commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 January 2021].

Xperthr.co.uk. 2021. What "Positive Action" Is Permitted Under Discrimination Legislation? | Faqs | Tools | Xperthr.Co.Uk. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 January 2021].


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