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Introduction - Law Essay
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Impact of legal and ethical consideration on Thomas Cook
The presented essay has been drafted outlining the ethical and legal considerations that the company Thomas Cook is required to follow in its business. The essay provides a detailed description of the effects and impacts these considerations have on the business. The chosen company Thomas Cook is a multinational company headquartered in London, United Kingdom and it is working in the tourism and hospitality business. Hence, the essay shall provide a discussion of the effect and impact of legal considerations on the tourism business of Thomas Cook. To begin with the essay, there shall be a discussion of the impact of human rights on the tourism business of Thomas Cook. Apart from human rights and related laws, there are other legislations and ethical considerations that the company is required to follow in its operations. The proceed, the essay shall outline the various legislations to which the company is subjected in its operation like Consumer Protection Act 1987, Package Travel Regulations 1992 and Trade Description Act 1968. The essay shall outline the effect and impact of these legislations and ethical practices on the business of Thomas Cook.
To begin with, it is significant to note that the concept of international human rights has been widely recognised by almost all the countries in the world and it has been mandatory for businesses to operate keeping in the human rights laws and principles. These laws have been incorporated within the internal policies of the companies in every sector and the companies take care that the human rights of the employees, as well as the customers, are protected. Thomas Cook respects all the internationally proclaimed human rights as are mentioned in the International Bill of Human Rights. The company has further given importance to the elimination of what is called modern slavery and all the components outlined regarding forced labour. As per the applied laws and legislations, the company Thomas Cook has been committed to the protection of human rights in its worldwide operations (Thompson, 2017). Moreover, the company has also initiated internal policies that help in the identification and monitoring of human rights and its compliance following the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The company also has framed a disciplinary process in case the human rights of any are violated. Before the case is brought before the court, the company take necessary steps in case there is a violation of the human rights of any customer.
Apart from this, there has been a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in the case maned Scott v. Thomas Cook  EWCA Civ 66, where the human rights and feelings of a disabled person named Mr Scott was hurt and violated. As per the facts of the case, Mr Scott was a disabled person in a wheelchair and while booking his flight he requested his seat to be next to his wife so that he could be assisted in meeting his needs of changing position and going to the toilet. Despite his request, he was not given such a seat due to which he had to face problems on the flight and his travel. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom held that the company shall be held liable for compensation to Mr Scott for violating his rights as at this point the company stands in violation of the human right of the person. It can hence, be stated that the impact of legal considerations such as international human rights can be seen on the company Thomas Cook where the company has been held liable for compensation. Another impact of such considerations is that the company shall be precluded from these acts in the future for future customers (Nicolaides, 2018).
Apart from human rights, some legislations have an impact on the business of Thomas Cook. As the company is operating in the tourism and hospitality sector, it has to be cautious regarding the needs and demands of the customers and hence, the company is being subjected to consumer protection laws. The legislation Consumer Protection Act 1987 is being applied to the company Thomas Cook. These laws are designed to prevent the companies that are engaged in unfair practices and also protect the consumer from the misleading statement being made by the companies. Hence, the company Thomas Cook becomes accountable for providing the necessary information regarding the packages that are being offered by the operators of the tour and the company (Díaz-Meneses and Nieves, 2019). Further, the company is also required to disclose all the relevant information so that the consumers do not get misrepresented while booking.
As already mentioned, the company is being subjected to the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which makes the company take care of the health and safety of the consumers while their bookings and travel. Further, this legislation also ensures that the consumers are not given bad services or not charged extra for any of the services. The company is required to charge very reasonably for the service it is offering so that every individual can afford the service. Hence, this impacts the productivity of the company as the company is required to cut down its prices for the affordability of the customers. For example, the company under its Suppliers Code of Ethics provides that the suppliers shall not get involved in any activity in any way that could discrete Thomas Cook or causes discrete Thomas Cook to be associated with any doubtful or illegal activity. Hence, the suppliers of this business are required to abide by the legal requirement and provisions and follow the ethical code of conduct in their operations.
Apart from the above-mentioned Act, the company is also subjected to the Trade Description Act 1968 which prevents the suppliers of Thomas Cook to mislead the consumers and provide wrong information regarding the services the company is offering. As the company is operating through suppliers’ chains across the globe, it has enacted a supplier code of conduct that provides for the provisions that the suppliers of the company are required to follow (Fusté-Forné and Jamal, 2021). In case any of the company suppliers are found to be giving wrong information or misleading the customers, the company shall be entitled to take disciplinary action against the supplier. The impact of this legislation can be seen positively on the company as due to the enactment of this legislation the company and its suppliers shall be precluded from cheating the customers by making misrepresentations. Due to this legislation, the company and its suppliers shall also be required to act to the best of their service and they shall also be subjected to overcharging the customers for their service.
Moreover, the company Thomas Cook is also subjected to the Package Travel Regulations of 1992. The purpose of this regulation is also to ensure that the company shall charge minimum to the customers for all the facilities and services that the company is offering. Further, this Act also ensures that the company shall compensate the customers if the customers have sustained any injury during their holiday through no fault of their own. This Regulation provides as to the information which is to be shared with the customers before their booking, after their booking but before their holiday package commence. This shall make the policies of the package transparent and also make the customer aware of the facility they are paying. Hence, it can be stated that the legislation impacts the business of Thomas Cook in such a way that the company has to abide by the provisions of these legislations or the company shall be subjected to penalties during their course of business (Skinner, 2019).
Discussing the ethical practices and professional conduct followed by Thomas Cook, it has been observed that the company has enacted internal policies and rules regarding the conduct of the supplier as the Supplier Code of Ethics and Conduct. This policy has set out the minimum standard which is expected from the suppliers in doing business and it also ensures that the suppliers abide by these standards in their working and also ensure its monitoring among the supply chains. The scope of the policy has also been outlined where it has been provided by the company that the standards shall be equal for all the employees, managers and directors which shall also include temporary staff members, agency workers and all the third parties that are doing business with the company and associated with the company like the agents of the company, company’s advisors, business partners of the company and also their staff members and employees (Van der Wagen and White, 2018). Hence, the company has widened the scope of its policy as it ensures complete protection of its customers and has set a vision of protecting the interest of the customers.
Some of the main points of ethical conduct that the company and its suppliers are required to follow includes protection of children from forced labour and sexual abuse, ensuring the health and safety of the customers during the continuation of their package. Apart from the interest of the customers, the company has also focussed on policy against bribery and corruption (Ving.se. 2021). Further, the company has also assured that it does not accept any gift or hospitality from any of its customers that is inappropriate and taken for facilitation of the business. Further, ethical practices of the suppliers shall include the disclosure of conflict of interest to the company.
Moreover, to ensure the compliance of the ethical practices by the company, the company became a signatory of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism enacted by the United Nations World Trade Organisation. The company became a signatory in November 2012 and hence, the company accepted to abide by the provisions of the code within its operations. But analysing the impact of this ethical conduct on the business of Thomas Cook, it has been observed that these ethical considerations have created a crucial sense that the company has in its heart the needs of the workers and the customers (Koc, 2019). Further, compliance with these ethical considerations also ensures that the company has won the requirement of creativity, innovation and that the company has met future sustainability. The impact of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism has on Thomas Cook has been seen in this sense that other companies in this industry have been influenced and encouraged and such adoption of ethical code has reflected that the company has changed its priorities with time. Hence, the impact of these considerations is seen as an inspiration for the competitors in the industry (Ving.se. 2021). Further, legal and ethical considerations also have an impact on ensuring sustainable development where the company shall look after the resources to be used wisely and that it shall be held accountable for its unauthorised use. Hence, it can be stated that the impact of legal and ethical considerations can be judged in the form of monitoring the actions and activities of Thomas Cook in the industry of tourism and hospitality (Webunwto, 2021).
Thus, to conclude it can be stated that human rights have been internationally recognised rights that have been made compulsory for the business to follow in every industry. Thomas Cook operates in the hospitality and tourism sector and hence, the company is also required to follow the international human rights principles to protect the rights of its employees as well as its customers. Moreover, the essay has highlighted three main legislations to which the company Thomas Cook has been subjected to and the impact of these legislations can be seen as a monitoring tool over the business. Ethical practices and conduct are yet another essential in the working of the company that ensures that the employees and suppliers associated with the company abide by the ethics of professional conduct that has been enacted by the company (Gardini, et. al., 2020). The impact of these ethical practices has been observed as an inspiration for the competitors in the same sector.
Díaz-Meneses, G. and Nieves, J., 2019. Ethics for innovation in hospitality: How incremental and radical novelties are induced by managers’ social and ecological responsibility. Sustainability, 11(22), p.6277.
Fusté-Forné, F. and Jamal, T., 2021. Co-Creating New Directions for Service Robots in Hospitality and Tourism. Tourism and Hospitality, 2(1), pp.43-61.
Gardini, M.A., Ottenbacher, M.C. and Schuckert, M. eds., 2020. The Routledge Companion to International Hospitality Management. Routledge.
Koc, E. ed., 2019. Emotional intelligence in tourism and hospitality. CABI.
Nicolaides, A., 2018. Ethical hospitality marketing, brand-boosting and business sustainability. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 7(1), pp.1-12.
Skinner, H., 2019. The impact of cultural values and economic constraints on tourism businesses’ ethical practices. International journal of tourism cities.
Thompson, E.L., 2017. Legal and ethical considerations for digital recreations of cultural heritage. Chap. L. Rev., 20, p.153.
Van der Wagen, L. and White, L., 2018. Hospitality management. Cengage AU.
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Webunwto.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://webunwto.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/imported_images/37802/gcetbrochureglobalcodeen.pdf> [Accessed 17 September 2021].