You are the HR Director and have been asked to prepare a report recommending the “right” way to approach the election

You are the HR Director and have been asked to prepare a report recommending the “right” way to approach the election

Create a post of between 400 and 500 words responding to the following with respect to the case (indented paragraphs) within the subheading Management Case in the commentary:

You are the HR Director and have been asked to prepare a report recommending the “right” way to approach the election, understanding that the company under no circumstance wants to deal with a union.

You must use the five-step ethical decision-making tool to explain your answer.

Student Post

Management Case

As the HR Director dealing with this case involving the potential formation of a union, it is important that I fulfill my duty as an HR leader to advise the CEO and other leadership of the company of the risks associated with the questions that have been brought to my attention in this case. By using the five-step approach to ethical decision-making, I would be able to provide the risks and associated context of those risks to leadership so that they can make a decision on how they want to proceed. As noted in Budd’s writing from Lesson 3, part of the ethics of duty is that “we have a duty to act such that our actions are universal and never treat individuals as only a means, even at the expense of aggregate utility,” which I believe we can apply to this case in our rationale for doing the ethical thing (Budd, 2004). Using the five-step approach, here is how I would outline my recommendation to management:

We are faced with a decision as a management team on how to deal with the prospect of employee unionization in our plant. We are aware of the reasons for unionization, including wages that are perceived to be low compared to our peer companies, as well as our failure to make a discretionary contribution to the 401(k) for our employees. We also know the identities of the employees who are leading the unionization efforts. The problem that we need to solve for is what our response to this unionization effort will be and how management and employees will be affected by that decision.

We are faced with a couple options to address this issue:

We could use tactics such as discipline or discharge for primary union supporters, make or promise a 401(k) contribution directly aimed at halting unionization, paint leads/supervisors as nonsupervisory employees for purposes of voting in an election, and/or have anti-union employees or leads surveil union discussions and report back. It is important to note that, while these tactics may represent the views of some of the , they may result in the company being fined for unfair labor practices (ULPs) by the NLRB.

We could use tactics such as explaining that the employees do not have to sign union cards and can legally refrain from joining the union, tell them that they do not need to speak with union organizers, show comparisons of how our wages/benefits compare to peer companies, explain the potential repercussions of a future strike (including being permanently replaced) (SHRM, n.d.). These tactics would constitute perfectly legal anti-union behavior by management and would avoid claims of ULPs to the NLRB.

As HR Director for the , my professional opinion is to choose the second option. While the first option is more of the “nip-it-in-the-bud” anti-union approach, it comes with financial and legal risk that I would not recommend we take on as an organization. The second option is within the bounds of the NLRA and also gives management an effective anti-union strategy when dealing with the unionization efforts. 

As an HR Director, I believe that it is my duty to set the legal facts out for leadership to understand and make a well thought-out decision on how to approach our efforts to quash the unionization efforts. As the fifth step in the ethical decision-making process asks us to do, this decision passes the gut check, primarily because it is based in fact and uses the NLRA as a guide for legal boundaries on which to lean. As Budd notes when describing Kantian moral philosophy, business organizations are required to “respect the critical autonomy and rationality features of human beings. Denying participation in decision making violates this central principle” (Budd, 2004). It is for this reason that I support the second option, which legally gives the company the right to advocate against unionization but falls short of denying the employees the rights afforded to them in the NLRA.


Budd, John. Balancing Outcomes Revisited: The Ethics of the Employment Relationship. Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice. Ithaca. ILR Press. 2004. 0801442087. pp. 66-81.

Penn State University. (n.d.). Lesson 3: Ethical Decision Making I. Canvas. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from

Society for Human Resource Management. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2023, from

Answer preview to You are the HR Director and have been asked to prepare a report recommending the “right” way to approach the election

You are the HR Director and have been asked to prepare a report recommending the way to approach the election


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