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Domino’s Pizza Ethical Dilemma Case


Work ethics involve values instilled in the workplace based on diligence and hard work of both the employees and the management (Brown, 2005). They include the beliefs in moral obligations with regard to procedures and outcomes. Attributes of work ethics include factors that define reliability at the workplace, pursuing inventiveness, and/or new better skills. Importantly, company personnel elicit high quality work ethics while those with superior ethics in theory require motivation through promotion to better organisational positions. The promotions could be based on employees’ increased responsibility within an organisation (Garsten & Hernes, 2009; Brown, 2005).

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Employees who fail to demonstrate exemplary work ethics could be dismissed for failing in terms of fair value, especially to the organisational culture and the remuneration remitted to them by the employer. In this organisation, a video was released in the spring of entailing two workers who were filming themselves as they grossly contaminated the pizza ingredients intended for customer delivery. The video was uploaded on YouTube and, by the following day, the dismay in the video had gone haywire, sparking millions of views.

The Ethical Issues

In the spring of 2009, during the Easter weekend, two workers of the Domino’s franchise showed their animosity in engaging in gross activities filming themselves as they contaminated pizza ingredients. The two employees were filming each other alternately as they did disgusting deeds to the ingredients when preparing pizza for customer delivery. The film included a commentary of what the other was doing.

Critically, the events carried several aspects of work ethics that tainted the employees’ behaviour. At one instance, one employee sneezed over the pizza preparation. Additionally, the other inserted some ingredients into the nose and touched the dirty skin, including the groin region. From a clinical point of view, such acts lead to contamination of food (Garsten & Hernes, 2009).

In addition, the act itself is disgusting in nature. The thought of consuming pizza that has passed through the process defined in the video is perturbing and many consumers who ate the pizza were emotionally affected. It is a social obligation to ensure that consumables delivered to customers are handled in a socially and morally acceptable manner. The emotional turmoil exhibited by the Domino’s pizza workers was insurmountable.

The episode adversely affected the image of the food merchandise firm. In fact, the majority of Domino’s customers are still impacted by the treacherous events and the trust they had with the company has been reduced. Some customers may feel that the management of the food store was aware of the events. Others consider this as a behaviour that has been taking place for a long period until when it finally erupted. Considering that there is no proof of the previous continuity of the transgression, the sum of the probability of its previous happening and its effect is not possible.

The Stakeholders

The Domino’s merchandise firm raises ethical issues with regard to the following stakeholders: the employees, customers and the company’s management (Johnson, 2007). The two employees involved implicate a causal reason to the perpetration of their disgusting behaviour. It is not possible that an individual with a sane mind would engage in the events that transpired during pizza preparation on the fateful day of the Easter weekend of 2009. Sometimes, demoralisation by the management may be a primary reason. In other cases, it can be assumed a motivation to the heinous act as of no ultimate cause. Secondly, the reason for the upload of the film in YouTube or who uploaded it is not explained.

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In addition, the customers are another major stakeholder in the Domino ethical issue. This is the group that was optimally devastated as it is the final consumer of the product created from the sordid events. Consuming pizza that has been treated in the manner shown in the film, including direct sneeze and application of some ingredients in the anal region is disgusting and emotionally disturbing to the consumers of the product. Other than that, in case the two employees were infected with some infectious agents, it implies that a food-borne disease outbreak would ensure following consumption of the infected pizza. The employees, on interview, confirmed that the affected pizzas were not included for delivery to customers, but the truth of the statement is unverifiable.

The other major stakeholder is the Domino’s management. The event led to a breakdown of its client base with many customers eliciting mistrust to the pizza delivery company. Regaining a broken customer trust is difficult. It calls for redesigning of mechanics to convince the customers of the health quality of the food products they obtain from the store.

Finally, the authorities involved in returning sanity in food preparation companies are important considerations. The police and legal ethical policies defining the behaviour of employees working in food stores are significant in this ethical case study because their investigations, litigation, and reporting protocols could facilitate in defining the future of Domino’s and related food production and delivery companies as well as averting the occurrence of similar or related events.

The Action Taken by the Domino’s Company

On realising the events on the video, the management fired the two workers, citing their uncalled-for behaviour in preparation of foodstuff. This was meant to ensure the two are not involved in direct food preparation or contact with other employees (Beauchamp, Bowie & Arnold, 2009). It was in some way meant to reassure the dominos customers that their pizzas are safe from a repeat of what is shown in the video. In actuality, the social media is affecting operations of many companies through evaluation of the accountability of many companies, including their employees and advertisements, among other things in the shortest time possible.

Secondly, the Domino’s acted fast, especially from the alerts received from alarmed pizza consumers who had viewed the video. Following the firing of the two employees, the Domino’s proceeded to address the public. As it turned out to be, all pizza consumers considered the Domino’s pizza as the last food option, with the majority considering the competitors, such as the Pizza Hut. The Domino’s management addressed their customers via the social media on a lighter note without putting much attention to the video, public relation point of view, the transpired event and how it ought to mitigate the occurrence of related events (Price, 2008).

Actions Suggested in order to Address the Ethical Situation

As the Dominos management did, the first thing suggested is the removal of the two employees of the company as they are primarily involved in tarnishing the company’s image (Beauchamp et al., 2009). Retaining the employees in the organisation would translate to the condoning of their behaviour and that a repeat of the same events is not a major issue for the company.

Secondly, before proceeding with litigation procedure, evaluation of the sanity of these two individuals should have been made a priority. This is because a close analysis of their actions defines insanity. In case the sanity evaluation sustains insanity, addressing the media with such claims would significantly restore Domino’s image.

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Thirdly, as opposed to Kantian’s approach, handling the issue on social media as Domino’s did was pertinent to ensuring that there are no eruptions over the deeds explicated in the video and the social media. As explained, the Domino’s only started a Domino’s Twitter account targeting constructive criticism and responding to them in order to counter articles further tainting the company in relation to the incident. This direct response to customer is crucial in order to ensure all maladies developed are constructively addressed (Goree, 2007).

Measures Believed Could Have Been Taken To Prevent What Happened

Considering that it has not explained the reasons that led to the perpetration of the events, one may suggest that employee motivation and correct leadership styles be employed. For instance, good communication skills between the employees and management could facilitate in defining where the management is failing the employees (Goree, 2007). Secondly, employing leadership styles that assist employees in making constructive contributions to the company assist in helping the employees feel valued and behaving sanely while carrying out organisational chores (Garsten & Hernes, 2009). In conclusion, one would congratulate the Domino’s in ensuring that a quick restoration of the company’s image is realised in a timely manner via the social media, especially Twitter.


Beauchamp, T., Bowie, N., & Arnold, Denis. (2009). Ethical theory and Business. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Web.

Brown, M. (2005). Corporate Integrity: Rethinking organizational ethics and leadership. New York: Cambridge University Press. Web.

Garsten, C., & Hernes, T. (2009). Ethical dilemmas in management. London, United United: Routledge. Web.

Goree, K. (2007). Ethics in the workplace. Stamford, CT: Thomson. Web.

Johnson, C. (2007). Ethics in the workplace: Tools and tactics for organizational transformation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Web.

Price, T. (2008). Leadership ethics: An introduction. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Web.

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