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Case Discrimination and Affirmative Action Essay Sample

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Case Discrimination and Affirmative Action Essay Sample


            The question of whether Maryland Airport should have awarded the contract to a company that failed to meet minority needs goals is a tricky one, which depending on the factors that are considered, it may go either way. The two most fundamental points to answer this question are the utilitarian and deontological considerations which will be based on ethical matters governing the whole issue of business practices and tendering or contract awarding.

            According to the normal practice, contracts are awarded after the state has chosen the top three bidders. In this case, there were three top bidders and First Transit was among them which means that they had done their best and for them to clinch that contract some discrimination had to be done behind the scenes to give the contract to the deserving team. The first argument that is reported was that First Transit Company did not meet the original goal that minority companies perform at least 30 percent of the work and the previous year it had gotten a waiver from the Maryland Aviation Administration to reduce that goal to 13 percent. This act in itself shows that this company was an underperformer and it could not be trusted with running that sensitive contract of providing transport services to and from the airport. This point was considered under deontological consideration since they were not considering the consequences of the outcome but the company had a chance to perform regardless how dismal the performance would be (Austin, 2008).

            The second point raised was the kind of work that First Transit Company used to do prior to applying for this contract.  It is alleged that it used to run bus shuttle services between parking lots Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport transporting passengers to and from the airport. The definition of utilitarian needs/ consideration takes into account the consequences of an action whether it will produce good or bad in the end. Consequence is the key word because in any kind of act, the outcome can be only favorable or not favorable and it can never be there in between (John, 2004). Therefore, so as to qualify this point as valid in order to award the contract, the work done by the company was directly connected to the same job they were applying for. This was a purely utilitarian decision because the end result meant that the company would be able to perform a shuttle service which is a favorable outcome.

            Granting the waiver was described by many as a mistake (after the company failed to meet the minority target of 30% of subcontracted work it was granted a 17% waiver to perform at 13%). This was aimed at leveling the playing field for the company to get to the stage where it could be voted. This might be viewed as a discriminatory act but it was not. According to the availed information, this company provided the best proposal with regard to the other three companies vying for the same bid. A proposal put down on paper does not translate to work done but if it is followed to the latter it will produce the best results. Deontology demands that practices be ethical which is expected that the outcome will be morally right. This is the hallmark of deontological consideration in that the result is predetermined by the input and therefore what matters are process and not the outcome (Austin, 2008).

            Another key point considered in awarding the bid was the performance of First Transit Company which was the performance after being granted the waiver. The company had exceeded the new goal for minority participation fixed at 30%. This is a moral consideration because it is looking at the results and making a conclusion which is considered as a utilitarian consequence. The basic idealism behind utilitarianism is the consequence that arises whether during the act or after but if the difference between the two alternatives is not great then it can not be regarded as moral or ethical issue. Morality of the issue here is of great importance in that it is touching on the projected performance of the company that has been given the contract and delivery of services is to the best of public’s interests therefore this has morally embedded as its core consideration (John, 2004).


            The awarding of the contract to First Transit Company was in order since the board considered several factors which to the general public it was not in order. The board even voted which shows that the process went through the due process. What the public does not know is that several factors that are not provided to the public for scrutiny because going by what is written on the paper, it is not enough to vote for a contract. The two factors that were in play in this case were utilitarian and deontology. A utilitarian consequence is an act that is determined by the moral outcome as opposed to deontology consequence that is more concerned with the adherence to practices that confirm moral and ethics that will ensure a good outcome.


Austin, Cline. (2008). Deontology and Ethics: What is Deontology, Deontological Ethics?          Retrieved May 24, 2009, from


John, Stuart. (2004). Utilitarianism. New York: Kessinger publishing.

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