Written Assignment for Unit #1

BL 240

Welcome. This is our first written assignment in BL 240. Before you begin the assignment, re-read the sections of the course syllabus (see Modules>Getting Started>Syllabus) dealing with “Written Assignments” to ensure that you understand the format (cover page plus no more than two type-written double spaced pages, content of the cover page, Code of Honor statement, etc.). You will be graded both on your response to the assignment and on having followed the directions (format). The key is to identify each legal issue (major and minor) and the general rule of law that applies to each issue. Verbiage will not be rewarded but the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your response will be. The object is for you to show me that you understand the material in Unit 1 and can apply it to a specific fact set. Note: This is not an essay assignment. Simply list the issues (legal/ethical questions that must be addressed) and state the controlling law (or ethical principle) for each.

Written Assignment #1: Kyle and his family own a successful farming and food processing business at several locations near Nauvoo in Walker County, AL (not far from Jasper, AL). The produce that they grow (vegetables and fruits) is sold under their own label, Alabama Sunshine. Kyle raises all of the produce on the family’s farms and sells it and the condiments that he makes from the produce at a roadside market that his family owns just outside of Nauvoo at the intersection of Bailey Road and Highway 5.

Although his family helps run the business, like many business operations, Kyle hires temporary workers during the peak times of the planting, growing, and harvesting. He also hires temporary workers during peak production times in his condiment processing facility in Jasper, AL. As can happen during peak times, Kyle is approached by one of his regular (full-time) employees about hiring, as a temporary worker, a sister-in-law named Carla who is new to Alabama. This potential employee, Carla, would agree to work for below minimum wages, would not expect any health insurance or other benefits, and would gladly accept all earnings in cash without any deductions for social security (OASDI) or other taxes. The offer is tempting for Kyle. With the rising costs of fuel, fertilizer, and supplies, Kyle needs to cut expenses wherever and whenever possible. He could save money by hiring Carla. Since his operation is rural (primarily in Walker and Winston counties, AL), he feels that he would probably not have any problems from State or federal authorities.

Kyle tries to be an ethical business person. He knows that what he is being asked to do is questionable at best and possibly illegal but it is late September; planting season for winter crops is upon him, harvest time for the fall crops is approaching quickly; and he knows that he needs the extra workers to get his crops processed and the future crops planted. Without a successful harvest and preparation for the next planting, there will be no Alabama Sunshine produce to sell and he will not be able to support his family or the regular employees.

As people have grown more health conscious, demand for Kyle’s organically grown produce has increased and grocery store customers are asking for Alabama Sunshine products by name. Kyle would like to expand the retail operations to include a store along I-22, a nearby major highway that connects Birmingham, AL, and Tupelo, MS; however, he does not want to get entangled in what he considers to be “unnecessary” federal and state regulations. He knows that he could face some problems but is not sure what those problems might be.

Kyle finished his business degree from UNA several years ago and he vaguely recalls Unit 1 in his BL 240 textbook, so he understands the basic issues but he trusts your knowledge and comes to you for advice and counsel. Among the many questions you must address, you ask yourself: What should Kyle consider as he ponders the relationship between “law” and “business ethics”? What factors, if any, have changed society’s concept of business ethics and the social responsibility of business enterprises? What should Kyle understand about the relationship between “maximum profits” and “optimum profits”?

Kyle feels certain that the State of Alabama can regulate his business (but he’s not sure where the State gets the power to do so) and wonders if the federal government can also regulate his business. As you consider Kyle’s situation, you ponder Kyle’s best argument against federal regulation of his roadside stand and farm businesses as the operations exist now. Will he be successful in this argument? Would it make a difference if he opens a store along the highway I-22? Under what authority would the State of Alabama have an interest in Kyle’s business? What other issues might Kyle face?

Note: To help you organize your thoughts, read the fact set; decide which facts are relevant and which are merely verbiage; based on the information in Unit 1, decide which information is relevant to the facts; then state the questions (issues) that you must answer to help Kyle and, for each issue, state the relevant law (general statement of the applicable law or ethical concept in your own words). You can apply the law to the issue to reach a conclusion if you like, but reaching a conclusion is not required. The key is to state clearly the questions (issues) that you must answer and state the applicable law that will guide you in answering each respective question/issue.

Also note that your response to this assignment is to be submitted as an attachment via the Dropbox function, and not as an email attachment. Use Word to prepare and submit your work.

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