Steven J. Trzaska was the head of L’Oreal USA’s regional patent team managing the procedure by which the company patented products. As an attorney barred in Pennsylvania, Trzaska had to adhere to professional rules of conduct established by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in addition to rules promulgated by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In 2014, L’Oreal S.A, the French parent of company of L’Oreal USA enacted a global quota of patent applications each regional office had to file each year. Employees were informed that failure to meet the quota would negatively impact their careers and even their continued employment at L’Oreal. Meanwhile, L’Oreal USA simultaneously enacted a rule to increase the quality of patent applications filed with the USPTO. The second rule led to a decrease in number of patents that could be filed with the USPTO. Trzaska’s team would not be able to fulfill the patent quota.
Faced with the problem, Trzaska informed management that his team would not file patents that they did not believe in good faith were patentable. Several weeks after Trzaska’s meeting with the management he was offered two severance packages that he did not accept. Finally, Trzaska was let go. Trzaska subsequently sued L’Oreal alleging that he was fired for his refusals to violate ethical rules that regulate the legal profession. Which stakeholders did Trzaska and the management choose when they made the decision to fire Trzaska?
(Trzaska v. L’Oreal USA, INC., 3d 155(2017)
Framework for Business Ethics
Creating a healthy business environment must consider the ethical practices of doing business. This paper identifies a case study scenario in the case of Steven J. Trzaska, head of L’Oreal’s patent team in explaining the WH Frameworks of ethical business decision making.
WH framework chart facilitating the choice on the list of the stakeholders
The chart encompasses the identification of the stakeholders affected by the decision that led to the firing of Trzasak. An individual of concern must be members of the stakeholder group. In the case of Trzaska, the decision to fire him affects such stakeholders as the shareholders, employees, and the management of L’Oreal company (Brown University, 2020). Considering how the decision effects the interests of the stakeholders is as well key in making an ethical decision to either fire or not fire Trzaska. As such, the two procedures must be considered in making the decision ascertaining whether firing Trzaska is an ethical misconduct.
The guidelines to include in the WH framework
Certain guidelines are key to be included in the WH Frameworks when addressing the case of Trzaska. First, addressing the expectations that the stakeholders have in the business is vital towards making an ethical choice. The shareholders would wish to see a high return for their purchase of the company’s shares. Their interests must come first in considering the implications of the choice to remove Trzaska from office. The employees’ interests are also key in making the decision to fire Trzaska. For instance, they are interested in a safe working environment, rewarding pay as well as job security. The management’s decision to fire Trzaska must not undermine these interests. Finally, the management of the organization have an interest in safeguarding the interests of the owners of the company. in which the company operates. They ensure that the owners of the company benefit from the returns of the company (SCU 2015). Thirdly, the decision must ethically focus on stakeholder prioritization. Identify what the company needs from the stakeholder will help the decision makers focus on priority at that moment.
In making an ethical decision, the firm cannot survive without the employees who are key stakeholders of the company. The case presents a scenario where the rights and freedoms of the employees of L’Oreal have been undermined. Replacing Trzaska with another employee fails to meet this criterion of the WH Frameworks that ensures that the interests of all stakeholders are considered in making an ethical decision (SCU 2015). Coaxing the employees to abide by the patent application procedures that were not enacted in good faith for the benefit of the employees therefore considered the shareholders’ interests in unfairly maximizing the labor efforts of the taskforce.
The values considered by the management in firing Trzaska
The management of L’Oreal considered the value of efficiency in dismissing Trzaska from his position. Their interests were merely to minimize costs and maximize wealth at the expense of the company’s employees.
The significance of WH Frameworks in analyzing the situation
The WH Frameworks provides a guiding frame working identifying all the interested groups in a given ethical decision. The guidelines further help identify the priority of ranking these interests in ensuring a maximum benefit for all the stakeholders involved in a given decision making.
WH Frameworks significance in helping managers with making business decisions
The WH Frameworks helps mangers make ethical decisions conspiring the welfare of employees, the interests of its shareholders as well as those of the larger community.
The significance of WH Framework chart in my decision making as a manager
As a manager, the WH Framework would help me prioritize key interests of the employee, shareholders as well as the management in addressing any conflicting issues between these stakeholders. The case of Steven J. Trzaska head of L’Oreal’s patent team is, therefore, crucial in explaining the WH Frameworks of ethical business decision making.
Brown university (2020). A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions. Retrieved from: https://www.brown.edu/academics/science-and-technology-studies/framework-making-ethical-decisions
SCU (2015). A Framework for Ethical Decision Making. Retrieved from: https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/a-framework-for-ethical-decision-making/
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