Law Versus Justice Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2191 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Law

Law vs. Justice

Justice is defined ( 2005) as conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude, the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward. Law, on the other hand, is a body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community, the condition of social order and justice, created by adherence to a fixed legal system. Justice is an abstract and subjective concept, individualized by experience and circumstances (Harvard Business School 2005), and reflects differing values within a society. The concept of justice is based on a person's viewpoint, prejudice or social affiliation (Oliver Wendell Holmes). But for the proper functioning and stability of a society, a set of agreed rules called law must be observed.

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Law is founded on the natural law and positive law (Harvard Business School 2005). Natural law deals with the doing of good and avoidance of evil, in keeping promises, telling the truth, compensating for injuries. Its standards are fairness and justice. Positive law is the set of rules agreed upon by the authority. It derives from common legal heritage, the court system and decisions, executive decrees and orders, legislative rules and laws and resolutions issued by the bureaucracy. It focuses more on order and stability and less on fairness and justice. However, natural law and positive law sometimes come in conflict, as in the issues of slavery, ownership of property, voting restrictions and racial segregation. Justice and law both aim at order and stability in society and the promotion of the highest welfare of the individuals in that society.

Case # 1 Paul Cronan vs. New England Telephone Company

Term Paper on Law Versus Justice Assignment

The NET Company believed that its problem is to balance company interests and responsibilities with the rights and needs of all of its employees in dealing with the situation of Paul Cronan, a company technician diagnosed with AIDS (Myers 1991). Paul was the first person with the sickness to win his job back through legal action. The Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts helped him file a $1.4 million civil lawsuit against NET for violating state privacy law in revealing Paul's sickness and illegally discriminating against him. It asserted that AIDS is a handicap, covered by statutes (or laws) prohibiting discrimination against the disabled. It charged that NET created a climate of suspicion and hostility that made his return to work impossible and failed to make the necessary accommodations for his return to work. On the whole, Paul, through the Union, accused NET of effectively but illegally dismissing him and discriminating against him solely of the ground of a physical disability. NET denied any illegality and claimed that Paul voluntarily revealed his condition and never responded to its offer to return or attempted to be reinstated. It claimed that Paul did not suffer from a handicap, that it did not commit serious invasion of privacy of Paul's condition and that the privacy law did not protect Paul's revelation of his secret.

Fearing the outcome of two lost preliminary legal battles and a trial, NET officials sought an amicable agreement with Paul, after ascertaining that he was capable of returning to work. He was re-assigned to another facility while NET held an AIDS-education information meeting between the workers and two medical AIDS doctors. These doctors assured the workers that Paul was not a health risk to them because AIDS is transmissible only through intimate contact. When Paul returned for work, he was avoided and treated with humiliation. Despite the training they had on the unlikelihood of contracting AIDS by casual contact, 29 out of 39 employees walked out to protest his return. They expressed discomfort and fear being around him for what his condition could cause them and their families. They were not content with what doctors said, since much about AIDS is still unknown and it did not seem right for someone with a strange disease to be walking around and working with them. NET's written AIDS policy allowed employees like Paul who were not disabled to return for work.

The privacy law did not apply to the case of Paul's condition, which was more than a question of physical ability or disability. AIDS is still largely a strange, incurable and fatal disease and it is neither enough nor fair to merely assure workers that it is transmissible only by intimate contact and expect them to ignore its impact on them. His supervisor, Mr. O'Brian, may not have kept his word but justice rightly impelled him to divulge Paul's secret for the good of the majority. Whatever individual rights Paul had must be subjected to those of the greatest number, which are superior to those of Paul. The harm that his sickness could bring on his co-employees and their families outweighed those of Paul. This case follows the philosophy of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who argued that the law must be carried out for society to function. But the philosophy that should apply in Paul's case should be the greatest good for the greatest number. In serving the greatest good of the greatest number, Paul's private rights must be sacrificed. The philosophy of William Lloyd Garrison should instead apply, whereby justice should be the sole basis or source of the law. Whatever laws were used to protect Paul's reinstatement should be altered to underscore the moral obligation of the NET to protect other employees from the condition of Paul and Paul's own moral obligation to consider the welfare of his co-employees and choose to leave the company. The natural law applies the rules to all persons equally, but the situation in Paul's and NET's cases is not equal. Paul contracted the disease through his own fault, but his co-employees had no such culpability.

Case # 2 Ann Hopkins

Ann Hopkins was without doubt an excellent professional and leader who rightfully deserved to be selected as a partner at Price Waterhouse (Barkan 1997). Her track record and capabilities were unquestionable. She had the support of the Office of Government Services or OGS during her first nomination in August 1982 because of her key role with the State Department project. She was the only woman in a group of 87 other candidates and she was among those placed on hold. The admissions committee suggested that she undertake a quality control review to demonstrate her capabilities and overcome some concerns about her. The following year, two of her original supporters at the OGS withdrew opposed her re-nomination. Later, Ann was told that she was unlikely to become a partner of Price Waterhouse. Her options were to resign from the company, join the international arena where she could be recommended for partnership the following year, continue working with Price Waterhouse as a career manager without a chance at gaining partnership, and to resign and file a lawsuit against Price Waterhouse for sex discrimination.

The selection of partners had no formal numerical limit. But the senior partner of the company and a policy board that chose the partners were guided by particular considerations. Partnership was a lifetime appointment and, being such, there were risks to consider in choosing the partners. A partner would be less supervised and more tenured and therefore likelier to abuse authority that could cause long-term problems to the firm. Because a partner had unlimited personal liability and exposure to large legal and financial risks, they had to be very careful in making their selections.

Despite her sterling performance, which brought in approximately $45 million worth of projects for Price Waterhouse, Ann was criticized for her temper and tendency to scream obscenities, discrepancies and dishonesty in the project budget for the Department of Interior, a tendency to pressure or threaten her team members, profanity and an inclination to be hypercritical about people she worked with, and generally impressed even those who admired her as overbearing and less feminine. She got negative comments about her hair, makeup, clothing and jewelry and said she found these comments offensive. The admissions committee's recommended that Ann participate in a quality control review because some things about her weighed against her impressive accomplishments. She was not promoted because she had irritated some senior partners. When she met with the firm chairman Joseph Connor on how she could overcome the "hold" recommendation and make it "admit," Connor said that she should come out of the quality control require with no negative comments.

The two OGS partners who earlier nominated Ann and later withdrew support from her expressed their difficulty in dealing with her a senior manager and were cautious that the problem could get worse if she acquired a partner's power and authority. With this withdrawal of support, Ann was told that it was very unlikely for her to be admitted for partnership. She was at the bottom of the overall ranking. Ann believed that she was the only candidate who lost after being put on hold solely for deficiencies in interpersonal skills. She learned the following year that she would not be re-proposed for partnership.

Ann could have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Law Versus Justice" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Law Versus Justice.  (2005, June 28).  Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Law Versus Justice."  28 June 2005.  Web.  28 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Law Versus Justice."  June 28, 2005.  Accessed September 28, 2020.