Equal Pay Act in Nevada v Farmer case

In the 1997 case of University and Community College System of Nevada v Farmer, Farmer was initially awarded $40K in damages for violation of the Equal Pay Act. The university won an appeal in front of the State of Nevada’s Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, leaving the lower court’s verdict in place. Defend or critique the finding of the Nevada Supreme Court using a deontological or teleological approach.

The case between the University and Community College System of Nevada v. Farmer demonstrates a situation where a court makes a verdict using an ethical approach. The ruling that the Supreme Court of Nevada made on the case in 1997 can best be explained using teleological ethics. The teleological approach to ethics postulates that a decision is right if it leads to the goodness that is desired, and wrong if it results in a state that is undesirable (Harvey & Allard, 2014). Thus, this theory of ethics tries to justify a given action based on its outcome or end results.

The Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a district court that the university had violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA). The EPA provides that men and women are entitled to an equal pay if they are doing equal work (Mello, 2019).The university had violated the law by deciding to pay Yvette Farmer $7,000 less than what Jonson Makoba was receiving (Cihon &  Castagnera, 2013). The decision of the court to uphold the judgment pertaining to violation of the EPA can be justified by the fact that it promotes fairness in terms of payment. The concept of distributive justice that lies within the category of teleological approaches holds that an ethical decision is one that results in fair distribution of various goods (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Herring, 2017). The court made the right decision that played an important role in promoting equity in terms of how the university workers were compensated.

Another judgment that the lower court had made on the case is that the university had committed gender and race violations as per the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act amended in the year1991. The Supreme Court reversed this particular verdict. According to the court, what the university had done was implementing a race-conscious kind of affirmative action that can help to curb discrimination against disadvantaged groups (Grier & Thurman, 1998). By hiring Makoba, the university intended to increase job opportunities to the blacks who had been traditionally disadvantaged. The theory of utilitarianism which derives from teleological ethics states that a decision is ethical if it leads to the achievement of the greatest good for the benefit of many (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Herring, 2017). This theory emphasizes on the importance of valuing diversity. Therefore, the court reasoned that the university tried to embrace diversity by recruiting employees from different cultural and racial backgrounds.

The WatchMark-Comnitel Corporation has undergone significant changes since their case of outsourcing. They were renamed Vallent Corporation, and later were acquired by IBM. This shows the competitive nature of the software industry. Based on this knowledge, examine the outsourcing actions taken by Watchmark-Comnitel from the deontological and teleological perspectives.

The competitive nature of the business world forces some companies to embrace the idea of outsourcing. Outsourcing is a cost-cutting strategy that aims at lowering costs and maximizing profits (Friedman, 2012). This measure enables businesses to hire external parties to perform their functions. Although being an important cost reduction strategy, outsourcing usually leads to elimination of some jobs from companies (Friedman, 2012). Thus, the process renders some people jobless. One of the business firms that have embraced outsourcing in the recent years is WatchMark-Comnitel Corporation. This is an international company that provides business, service, and performance management solutions to network operators as well as service providers. Outsourcing has seen WatchMark-Comnitel Corporation undergoing significant changes. For instance, it changed its name to Vallent Corporation. Later on, IBM acquired the company.

Whether Watchmark-Comnitel’s outsourcing actions are ethical can be examined through the use of deontological perspectives. Deontological ethics derives from moral obligations, duties, and rules. It suggests that an action is morally right or wrong depending on a certain set of rules, and not the consequences (Friedman, 2012; Gold, 2018). One of the most important theories of deontological ethics is that of Emmanuel Kant. This theory centers on the popular principle which emphasizes that it is important to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Ndubisi & Nygaard, 2018). By outsourcing labor, WatchMark-Comnitel Corporation’s managers acted in an ethical manner by violating this principle. Nobody can welcome such a decision since it results in the loss of jobs. However, when deontological perspective is examined in relation to diversity it can be accepted (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Ndubisi & Nygaard, 2018). Just like any other company, Watchmark-Comnitel had the moral duty to promote workforce diversity regardless of this action’s consequences.

The outsourcing activities of WatchMark-Comnitel Corporation can also be evaluated using teleological perspectives. The teleological ethics focus on the outcome of an action. It defines an ethical behavior in terms of its consequences. According to this ethics, an ethical decision is one that leads to the attainment of greatest good (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Gold, 2018).WatchMark-Comnitel’s outsourcing did not result in the achieving this “greatest good” since many workers were probably laid off. Therefore, this action was unethical. On the other hand, it can be argued that the “greatest good” was achieved since WatchMark-Comnitel’s action was vital in enhancing diversity in the company’s operations and activities. By embracing the aspect of outsourcing, the company probably opened its doors to the best workforce from diverse backgrounds.

Present an argument that it is easier for employers to comply with diversity legislation in Canada than it is in the United States.

Diversity legislations play a significant role in reducing discrimination. They emphasize on the importance of treating people equally regardless of their race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, class, religion, age, sexual orientation, and health status (Hiranandani, 2012; Vollman, 2018). In the employment sector, diversity legislations help to ensure that every worker or employee is treated fairly without any form of discrimination. However, the usefulness of the legislations depends on the willingness of employers to abide by them. This varies from one country to another. For instance, there is enough evidence to show that it is a bit easier for Canadian employers to comply with the legislations than the employers of the United States.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that have given priority to workforce diversity. The country uses various legislations to enhance the diversity. One of such legislations is the Canadian Human Rights Act. Unlike the United States’ Bill of Rights, the act emphasizes on pay equity through a clause that promotes compensation of comparable worth (Hiranandani, 2012; Harvey & Allard, 2014). This requires the employers to ensure that both male and female workers who do the same job have to get an equal pay. Apart from the Human Rights Act, Canada also has an Employment Equity Act. This act calls for an affirmative action that helps to ensure that women, aboriginal groups, persons with disabilities, and visible minority groups are given equal opportunities in the sector of employment (Harvey & Allard, 2014; Vollman, 2018). Thus, the act forces the employers of Canada to take this into consideration when recruiting the workforce, and giving promotions. The United States does not have such a law that directly focuses on the value of diversity at the workplace.

Unlike the United States which is divided into states, Canada is divided into territories and provinces. Each of the provinces and territories has set up specific human rights laws that prohibit discrimination (Hiranandani, 2012; Harvey & Allard, 2014). These laws are more powerful compared to the employment legislations of the American states. The Canadian employers are expected to obey their respective territories or provinces’ antidiscriminatory laws. Failure to do so attracts a severe punishment. Therefore, the employers have no option but to comply with these legislations. It is also important to note that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms illegalizes discrimination (Hiranandani, 2012; Vollman, 2018). The charter supports affirmative action efforts that seek to improve the disadvantaged groups’ state. The employers have to apply such measures in their organizations for the purpose of creating diversity. this does not happen in the United States.

Select a source of media as outlined in Exercises in Media Diversity. Comment on the questions listed in the textbook for the media option you selected.

Media Source Selected: Other cultural products.

What stereotypes and cultural messages do you think are being sent? Explain. Give examples.

Different cultural products send out some important cultural messages. They are as well associated with certain stereotypes. For instance, video games have created a gaming culture that is increasingly influencing the mainstream culture (Pollack & Pierre-Louis, 2019). It has led to the emergence of various marginalized social groups operating in the virtual world. Comic books and children’s books serve as a mirror of the society (Singh, 2011; Maity, 2013). They can be used to reflect a culture. On their part, toys and baby cards are used to enhance gender stereotypes (Singh, 2011; Aiello, 2014). It is believed that toys for boys are associated with aggression and fighting. Examples include guns, and soldiers. In contrast, toys for girls are related to physical appearance. Examples of this include Barbie dolls, jewelry, and makeup. Baby cards perpetuate gender stereotypes in regard to future careers or professions. For example, a card for boys can depict a famous footballer. On the other hand, a card meant for girls can depict a ballerina.

How are ethnic and racial groups represented? As leading characters? Villains? Heroes? What are the gender roles? Explain. Give examples.

Various racial and ethnic groups are represented in different ways using the cultural products. To begin with, toys reflect dominant ethnic groups’ attitudes (Aiello, 2014). As a result, they are used to legitimize such groups’ experiences and values. In video games, racial minorities are in most cases portrayed poorly (Pollack & Pierre-Louis, 2019). This is unlike in the case of dominant racial groups. The superhero genre of comics trivializes minority groups by creating minority superheroes (Maity, 2013; Aiello, 2014). Such superheroes stand out from the rest of the minority group members. Baby cards also reflect both racial and cultural differences (Singh, 2011; Jefferson, 2018). For instance, there are cards for the blacks and whites in the United States. Elementary school textbooks glorify the cultures of the white people at the expense of those of the African American groups (Aiello, 2014). In most of the cases, the dominant ethnic or racial groups are depicted as the heroes or leading characters. In contrast, people from the racial minority groups are portrayed as villains.

Apart from representing different races and ethnic groups, cultural products can also be used to represent gender roles. For example, the toys that boys play with often depict aggressiveness and action. However, those of girls focus on beauty and passiveness (Singh, 2011; Aiello, 2014). Video games depict females or women who are sexualized frequently (Singh, 2011). Male characters are never represented that way. Baby cards also portray differences in gender roles (Aiello, 2014). For example, they associate nursing and teaching roles with the female gender. Comic books link heroic roles with males (Maity, 2013). Even the books that children learn at the elementary level of education help to promote the understanding of the roles of the female and the male gender (Aiello, 2014). For example, women are depicted as homemakers within the domestic sphere of influence. Men are always depicted as the breadwinners who operate within the public sphere of influence.


Aiello, L. (2014). Handbook of research on management of cultural products: E-relationship marketing and accessibility perspectives. Hershey, PA : Business Science Reference, an imprint of IGI Global.

Cihon, P. J., &  Castagnera, J. O. (2013). Employment and Labor Law. London: CengageBrain.com

Friedman, W. H. (2012). On Justifying Outsourcing and Offshoring. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 2 (4). Retrieved from https://www.aijcrnet.com/journals/Vol_2_No_4_April_2012/7.pdf

Gold, T. (2018). Ethics in IT Outsourcing. London: CRC Press.

Grier, P., & Thurman, J. S. (1998). Ruling May Clarify Affirmative Action. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from https://www.csmonitor.com/1998/0310/031098.us.us.5.html

Harvey C., & Allard M. J. (2014). Understanding and Managing Diversity. [VitalSource Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780133777918/

Herring, J. (2017). Legal Ethics.Oxford University Press.

Hiranandani, V. (2012). Diversity Management in the Canadian Workplace: Towards an Antiracism Approach. Urban Studies Research. doi:10.1155/2012/385806

Jefferson, C. (2018). What Makes a Greeting Card Black? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/style/hallmark-mahogany-cards.html

Maity, N. (2013). From Comic Culture to Cyber Culture: Cultural Imperialism and Its Impact on the Youth Since 1960s. OSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science (IOSR-JHSS), 8 (4): 10-14. www.Iosrjournals.Org

Mello, J. A. (2019). Why the Equal Pay Act and Laws Which Prohibit Salary Inquiries of Job Applicants Can Not Adequately Address Gender-Based Pay Inequity. SAGE Open, 9 (3): 21582440198, August. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244019869106

Ndubisi, N.O., & Nygaard, A. (2018). The ethics of outsourcing: when companies fail at responsibility. Journal of Business Strategy, 39 (5): 7-13. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBS-03-2018-0037

Pollack, S., & Pierre-Louis, S. (2019). Video games are transforming how we communicate with each other – and they could fix a range of other global issues too. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/video-games-culture-impact-on-society/

Singh, J. P. (2011). Globalized arts: The entertainment economy and cultural identity. New York: Columbia University.

Vollman, A. (2018). Canada versus the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.insightintodiversity.com/canada-versus-the-u-s/

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