Good Ethical Analysis - Sexual Harassment In Medical Facilities Course Work Example

Published: 2021-07-03 00:00:05
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Every society has a set of values that individuals, businesses and governments are expected to uphold. These are values that the society holds dear, and each of the members is expected to meet a set threshold. Some of the most important values include honesty, truthfulness and integrity. For businesses, the bar is set a bit high because the appetite for profits may make organizations seek shortcuts and annihilate some of these values. This makes operations that businesses engage in remain under sharp focus. Businesses are expected to uphold the integrity for the benefit of consumers, employees and shareholders. If any of these three pillars of a business feel undermined or threatened, then, there are steps that can be pursued to ensure corrective measures are undertaken.

One of the things that organizations are expected to adhere to is a code of conduct that falls in line with the aspirations of the society. As a result, adherence to ethics is expected of all businesses, irrespective of the industry, the size or geographic location. It is disturbing, therefore, to note that some organizations still do not pay serious attention to the adherence of ethical standards within their workplace environments. A good example is the Garfield Medical Center. In 2011, Garfield was fined $ 530,000 by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for failing to deal decisively with sexual harassment claims from employees. Repeated attempts by employees to report sexual harassment fell on deaf ears while the organization did nothing.

Ethical Issue

In the case of Garfield Medical Center, the ethical issue is that several female employees repeatedly complained of sexual harassment, and nothing was done (by the organization) to investigate the claims and punish the perpetrator. In shocking circumstances, the complainants were either fired or forced to resign on their own volition. For close to two years (from 2007-2009), female workers would present their case to the management, and nothing would be done to the culprit (U.S. Equal opportunity Employment Commission, 2011). The culprit was only fired in 2009, which points to a failure by the management to act early enough. In essence, the management at Garfield Medical Center was knowingly or unknowingly entrenching sexual harassment in the workplace.

Two things should raise an alarm in this case. The first thing is that the management did not take time to investigate the sexual harassment claims and act accordingly. The second thing is that it took a whole two years before the alleged culprit was fired. This was after several employees had been fired, and some of them had to quit on their own terms for lack of support. Probably, this is the scenario that takes place within many organizations in the country. Sexual harassment is an unethical practice because it undermines quest for a comfortable working environment, which in turn reduces productivity in the workplace. This is against the laws of the county because there is a sexual harassment policy in place, and companies are expected to be at the forefront in implementing this policy. Organizations should have an environment where employees can attend to their duties without fear of harassment and reprisals.

How the Issue was Handled

In 2010, EEOC filed a suit in the District Court of California against Garfield Medical Center. In settling the case, Garfield agreed to a three-year consent decree. The decree stated that Garfield Medical Center will provide monetary relief to at least ten of the victims named in the case and provide an injunctive relief to prevent and deal with future cases of harassment (U.S. Equal opportunity Employment Commission, 2011). Out of the $ 530,000 fined, $ 100,000 was set aside to as a fund for victims who are yet to be identified. The decrees also stated that Garfield will maintain a toll-free number for complaints, hire a consultant to monitor the complaints, train all the staff on anti-harassment and report to EEOC on the compliance measures taken (U.S. Equal opportunity Employment Commission, 2011).


The fine was a wake-up call to Garfield Medical Center because the organization was forced to take drastic measures against sexual harassment. Providing anti-sexual harassment and anti-retaliation training are expected to create an environment that is free from sexual harassment. This would also acts as deterrence to those who have similar habits. Establishment of the toll-free complaint hotline, and the hiring of a consultant to monitor the complaints is expected to ensure that cases of sexual harassment are reported immediately, and the necessary investigative measures taken immediately. Lastly, giving a progress report to EEOC is expected to give the body an opportunity to assess the steps being undertaken to address sexual harassment in the workplace and give appropriate recommendations. Above all, these measures are expected to improve the working conditions at Garfield, which would translate into increased productivity because the employees will not have to worry about sexual harassment.

How to Deal with Such Issues

The developments at Garfield Medical Center required quantum leadership. This is because new thinking and practice is required in order to stretch the psychological boundaries provided by classical leadership. The process would shift from a system whereby the management is expected to know everything and act to the expectations both employees and a customer to an environment that facilitates teams, and empowers and builds relationships (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007, p. 168). This would in turn transform the work environment such that employees can voice their concerns without the fear of reprisal.
In addition, quantum leadership would deconstruct existing barriers such as strong ego, fear of losing, fear of control, aloofness and arrogance and replace them with openness to new ideas, recognition of self-strengths and weaknesses, trust in other people and recognition of personal limitations (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007, p. 169). It would also be crucial for the organization to go through the circle of vulnerability. The circle of vulnerability has five distinct steps, which include becoming vulnerable, taking risks, stretching one’s capacity, living the new reality, evaluating results and cherishing the new knowledge gained (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2007, p. 170). This would encourage employees to take risks and report any new cases of sexual harassment, and mention those things that they could not mention. While this can be interpreted as a loss of power, which exposes the leaders to for displaying weaknesses, it would beneficial because the employees would now raise difficult questions that they could not raise. It would also create an aura of openness and genuineness that encourages employees to feel safe and inquire about complex issues affecting them.

The shift in organizational behavior would also encourage mandatory reporting for any unprofessional behavior. After adopting the new style of leadership, the organization would no longer tolerate sexual harassment and would do everything possible to protect all employees equally in their places of work. Never again should an employee be forced to resign because of unprofessional conduct shown by their colleagues. The employees would also be encouraged to blow the whistle whenever they notice the mistreatment of others. The organization should also do everything possible to protect whistle blowers, support open communication and examine differing opinions.

Sustaining the new reality would require coaching any new staff on the organization’s sexual policy in order to prevent new cases of sexual harassment. Lastly, the organization would have to evaluate the results to see whether the new measures are working, what needs to be improved and which resources should be allocated to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

The second phase of restructuring should focus on building the context of hope. In this phase, the organization should endeavor to find out what makes the workers within the organization to feel discouraged and discover what fuels job –related stress within the organization (Borkowski, 2005). Other areas of focus including finding out what causes feelings of exhaustion within the workplace and what makes discouragement, helplessness, hopelessness, dissatisfaction and feelings of depression. It is important to examine all these issues because when health workers show one or two of these emotions, it becomes more difficult to implement change. A baseline survey administered to the workforce would be appropriate in this case.

Driving change within an organization requires passion, courage, energy, discipline and trust. The level of change achieved is equivalent to the drive of the leader to engineer these values in other people, as well. It is vital to encourage people to have the will do the right thing, with or without supervision. Employees within the organization should have the self-directing capacity. Reluctance to do the right thing is a manifestation of self-doubt, which is not a good thing in the healthcare industry. Fear, skepticism, self-indulgence, lethargy and apathy are some of things that the organization should strive to eliminate in employees because they are a recipe for low productivity and the entrenchment of poor work ethics.


In this day and age, ethics is inseparable from the organizational environment. Customers expect honesty and the highest level of integrity from businesses while employees expect their organization to treat them with the respect that they deserve. State machineries, on the other hand, expect adherence to the rules, regulations and guidelines laid down. Sexual harassment is one of the unethical practices that organizations should strive to stamp out. It goes against the law and organizations should assure their employees of a safe environment that is free from sexual harassment. In 2011, Garfield Medical Center exposed a weakness in enforcing sexual harassment policy in the workplace. The organization was fined $ 530,000 for failing to deal with cases of sexual harassment arising from their employees. Although the matter has been resolved, this should serve (as a wake-up call to other organizations) to ensure that their places of work are safe, and employees can undertake their duties without fear. There is no shortcut to this, and this should be followed to the later.


Borkowski, N. (2005). Organization behavior in healthcare. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Barlett .
Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2007). Quantum leadership: A resource for health care i nnovation. Boston, MA: Jones and Barlett.
U.S. Equal opportunity Employment Commission . (2011, November 11). Garfield Medical Center To Pay $530,000 For Sexual Harassment, Retaliatio. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from

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