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Ethical issues of Labor Contractors

In today’s globalizing business environment, it is rather easy to dismiss ethical obligations toward labor contractors and the ethical obligation toward the actions of labor contractors.

In essence, a labor contractor is an extension of a company that allows for outsourcing its work yet does not have employee status. Though different from independent contractors, who work independently for several organizations simultaneously, labor contractors generally perform one particular task at any given time. Hence making them proxy employees, which in turn may be accompanied by public relations issues such as moral and ethical standards.

Such direct or indirect associations with a company logically dictate a clear approach to avoid pitfalls that may occur if loose regulations are used. Pitfalls include direct association with mismanaged practices that may or may not violate local rules yet violate the moral codes of the originating company.

One of the rather clear examples is the use of child labor. Many developing nations that host foreign companies may not prohibit the use of child labor, yet those foreign countries will face a degree of public outcry if it becomes public that the production of particular goods may have involved child labor. It is beside us to judge the validity of child labor because of our lack of understanding of asymmetric factors that may contribute to such necessities. However, it is morally and socially prohibitive to consider factors such as child labor as necessary.

Ultimately it is important to point to the most significant factor in such decision-making, mainly that most such moral obligations and the consequences have to be tied to public eyes and the reaction of the most important participants – consumers.

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