John, an employee of XYZ Publishing, called his supervisor over to the area where he was working and told him that he refused to do the job any more because the air conditioning in the room created a draft which was making him sick. Sam, the supervisor, did not feel any strong drafts, but wanted to be fair.
He summoned the buildings' safety director, who determined that the air duct was 25 feet away from the work station, and at a 45 degree angle from John. He further explained that the technology used by the air conditioning system diffused the air as it comes out of the duct and does not create a draft.
The supervisor decided that John's safety complaint was unjustified and ordered him to return to work. John again refused, stressing that since Sam was not a doctor, he was not capable of deciding whether or not there was a problem. XYZ Publishing subsequently discharged John for refusing a direct order from his supervisor to do a job that was covered under his regular duties.
John protested that requests to be removed from a job were often made, and that he was never informed that refusing to do the job would result in his discharge.
Was John fired for just cause? (i.e., because he was sick, or because he refused a direct order?)
Did Sam act ethically toward John?
What if John asked to be reassigned instead of refusing to work?
What else could the company have done about the problem?
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