7 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Ruth Parks owns Top Resources, a temporary employment agency, with offices in Kansas and Missouri. She discovers an employee working at a big-box store. The employee is collecting workers' compensation (WC) for an injury she claims occurred while on assignment for Top Resources. The bigger picture paints Parks's concern that the temporary nature of employment agencies lends itself to greater risk of WC fraud. This case raises ethical issues concerning truth-telling, whistle-blowing, and workers' compensation. It raises questions concerning employee versus employer rights and the limited effects of regulations in adjudicating these claims.
Ruth Parks felt a certain impatience as she waited her turn one May morning in 2000. The line at the Wal-Mart checkout wound through the aisle like a train coiling its way through the mountains. As she approached the front of the line, her annoyance quickly turned into disbelief. Parks recognized the cash register operator. She was Christine Kidd, an employee of Top Resources, the temporary employment agency in Kansas City that Parks owned. Kidd was collecting Workers' Compensation for an injury that she claimed occurred while on assignment for Top Resources. Discovering her employee working at Wal-Mart confirmed Parks's suspicion that Kidd had given false information to Top Resources and started a new job. Parks was concerned that individuals seeking to make fraudulent Workers' Compensation claims had targeted her company. Her insurance carrier was not interested in tracking down potential fraudulent claims because of the expense involved and the incentive to raise Top Resources's premiums. And Parks believed that Workers' Compensation (WC) claimants had a right not to be discriminated against for having previously filed a claim. But Parks also felt she really needed to find some way to beat the system. As she waited her turn, Parks's incredulity led to a determination to figure out how to combat such duplicity.
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Keywords: ethics workers' compensation whistle-blowing organizational culture women business
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