Written Assignment #1: Kyle and his family own a successful farming and processing business at several locations near Weston in Marion County, AL (not far from Hamilton, 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 farms and sells it and the condiments that he makes from the produce at a roadside market that his family owns just outside of Weston on Bexar Ave.
Although his family helps run the business, Kyle hires temporary workers during the peak times of the planting, growing, and harvest seasons. He also hires temporary workers during peak production times in his condiment processing facility in Hamilton, AL. As can happen, Kyle occasionally is approached by one of his local, seasonal workers about hiring a cousin or other relative who is new to Alabama. This potential employee would agree to work for below minimum wages, would not ask for or expect any health insurance or other benefits, and would gladly accept all wages in cash without any deductions for social security (OASDI) or taxes. With the rising costs of fuel, fertilizer, and supplies, Kyle needs to cut expenses wherever and whenever possible and he could save money by hiring such workers. Since his operation is rural (primarily in Marion and Fayette 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 mid-February; planting time for the early season crops is approaching quickly; and he knows that he needs the extra workers to get his fall/winter crops processed and the spring 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 regular workers.
As people have grown more health conscious, demand for Kyleâ€™s organically grown produce has increased and grocery store customers are asking for Alabama Sunshine produce by name. Kyle would like to expand the retail operations to include a store along a nearby major highway (I-22) that connects Birmingham, AL, Tupelo, MS, and Memphis, TN but he does not want to get entangled in what he considers to be â€œunnecessaryâ€ federal and state regulations.
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. What should Kyle consider as he ponders the relationship between â€œlawâ€ and â€œbusiness ethicsâ€? What factors, if any, have changed societyâ€™s concept of business ethics and the social responsibility of business enterprises? What should Kyle understand about the relationship between â€œmaximum profitsâ€ and â€œoptimum profitsâ€?
Kyle wonders if the federal government can regulate his business operations. And, if so, under what clause of the U.S. Constitution might the federal government regulate Kyleâ€™s business activities? What is Kyleâ€™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) connecting Birmingham, Tupelo, and Memphis? Under what authority would the State of Alabama have an interest in Kyleâ€™s business? What other issues might Kyle face?
Note: As with all Written Assignments, WA1 has a point value of 25 points. This is to be your own work with no help offered, given, or accepted as per our Class Code of Honor (which is to be on the coverpage of your submission, see Syllabus).
To help you organize your thoughts, I suggest that you 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 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 identify clearly the questions (issues) that you must answer and state the applicable law that will guide you in answering each respective question.