Ethics Case Study – 66

You are the director of a unit in a regulatory agency that is charged with monitoring the use of potentially harmful commercial chemicals.

Shubhangi, a junior project manager under your supervision, is responsible for studying a broad-spectrum insecticide that is used not only in agriculture by small foodgrain farmers and cotton farmers, but also in the livestock sector as an animal spray.

She has been assigned to determine whether this product should be removed from the market. At a social event, Shubhangi met a man named Vivek, who she later learned was the Mumbai representative for the insecticide manufacturer.

After meeting Vivek several times, she became rather fond of him and wanted to pursue the relationship further.

However, Shubhangi realized that their professional roles created a potential conflict of interest for her, and she decided to tell you about the situation.

She intended to continue seeing Vivek and said she considered herself mature enough to maintain a separation between her professional and private lives.

Shubhangi insisted that her feelings for Vivek would not influence her judgment in any way; in fact she and Vivek had never even discussed the chemical in question.

What would you do in such a situation? While you evaluate the alternatives available to you, what are the moral codes and maxims that come to your mind as reference points for arriving at a decision?

20 marks / 250 words.

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