When the case of Crone v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (2002) is discussed, it is summarized as a UPS dispatcher being denied a promotion because her supervisor felt the truck drivers would make her cry. This description plays our own perceived stereotypes that women are somehow not as strong as men. The assumption that the supervisor in question is somehow making a discriminatory decision is really tied to the readers own perception of the stereotype. Fortunately, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals was able to separate the stereotype from the facts of the case. In the end, the Eighth Circuit found that Ms. Crone did not adequately prove discrimination in this case. Although the reason for Ms. Crone being passed over for promotion was presented “in a demeaning manner”, the decision was ultimately made based no Ms. Crone’s previous inability to handle confrontational situations (Crone v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 2002).
The ethical dilemma in this case is less about its outcome, and more about the presentation of a supervisor’s decision or recommendation. This case might have never gone to trial if Ms. Crone had been presented with her supervisor’s recommendation in a courteous and professional manner. Instead, the supervisor’s demeaning response reminds the reader of negative stereotypes associated with women. John Boatright (2007) points out that individuals are discriminated against when they are “treated on the basis of group characteristics” rather than their own merit (p. 184). Boatright (2007) goes on to point out that stereotyping is morally objectionable because it results in individuals being judged by their membership in groups rather than their own strengths (Boatright, 2007). Therefore, this case doesn’t open any avenues for discrimination among other employers. Instead, it shows that discrimination is a matter taken very seriously by the courts, and any decision that may be construed as discrimination will be given serious review.
This case is about judging an employee’s performance based on their individual merits, and upholds the employer’s right to make such a judgment. In effect, it confirms that an employer has the right to make a decision as long as it can be proven that the decision was not a result of discrimination. Any employer, BSS included, should take these results and incorporate them into their policies and procedures relating to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). It is in the employers best interest to make judgment’s based on individual merit, and management should be encouraged to do so. That being said, it is also in the employer’s best interest to establish an oversight committee to ensure that these decisions truly are made in an appropriate fashion.
Boatright, J. (2007). Ethics and the conduct of business, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Crone v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 301 F.3d 942 (8th Cir. 2002).
Ferrell, O. C., Freadrich, J., & Ferrell, L.. (2008). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (7th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.