Jeremy, a sales representative, is preparing a sales presentation for his company, Champion Hardware, which manufactures nuts and bolts. Jeremy hopes to obtain a large sale from a construction firm that is building a bridge across the Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri. The bolts manufactured by Champion have a 4 percent defect rate, which, although acceptable in the industry, makes them unsuitable for use in certain types of projects, such as those that may be subject to sudden, severe stress. The new bridge will be located near the New Madrid Fault line, the source of the United States’ greatest earthquake in 1811. The epicenter of that earthquake, which caused extensive damage and altered the flow of the Mississippi, is less than 200 miles from the new bridge site. Earthquake experts believe there is a 50 percent chance that an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 7 will occur somewhere along the New Madrid Fault by the year 2030. Bridge construction in the area is not regulated by earthquake codes, however. If Jeremy gets the sale, he will earn a commission of $35,000 on top of his regular salary. But if he tells the contractor about the defect rate, Champion may lose the sale to a competitor that markets bolts with a lower defect rate. Jeremy’s ethical issue is whether to point out to the bridge contractor that, in the event of an earthquake, some Champion bolts could fail, possibly resulting in the collapse of the bridge.

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