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Drug monitoring is an unjustified violation of employee privacy because it reveals basic personal characteristics that particular workers would not be able to reveal. The consideration is consistent with utilitarianism philosophy, which promotes and stresses the best and well-being of workers (Shaw & Barry, 2013). Employers' main priority should be to protect their workers' privacy rather than attempting to exclude drugs from the workplace. It is, however, important to note that employers also need to ensure ethical co-existence with staff and even for the employees among themselves by addressing the drug issue (Hartman, DesJardins, MacDonald, & Hartman, 2014). A perspective from the consequentialism theory would guide the decisions on the appropriateness of the actions when employees’ lives transform as a result of such intervention by the employers (Shaw & Barry, 2013). The methodology employed in handling the drug problems should, however, emanate from express voluntary decisions by the employees involved.
What about other health-threatening activities, i.e. smoking outside of working hours, unprotected sex, etc. Should employers be able to question or test employees or potential employees about these activities?
Employers have a moral responsibility to ensure that the employees live sustainable and productive lives. The main assertion here is not to imply that employers should forcefully implement tests or examinations on the employees’ lifestyles (Moore, 2015). The actions of employers to check on employees borders on the theory of altruism where the organization suffers financial and time loss to handle health issues of the employees (Shaw & Barry, 2013). The idea is that employers, being in the place of parental attachments, should develop mechanisms that would ensure healthy lifestyles in and outside the place of work. In that respect, employers have an obligation to tactfully and diplomatically question and subject employees to tests to assess their health status.
It is also for the good and prospective perpetual existence of the business as it assures consistency and longevity of service from healthy employees. The disclaimer in all these assertions is that there should be an appropriate mechanism for implementing such examinations and questioning to elicit voluntary involvement in the exercise by the employees involved (Hartman et al., 2014). Any process that comes out as coercive and authoritarian falls outside the ethical confines regarding employee treatment by the current or prospective employers.
Should employers be allowed to question employees about non-health related issues such as criminal record, marital or family status, citizenship status? Remember, you will want to focus on the ethics of the question, not the legal or political concerns.
Employers should be allowed to question employees about the non-health related issues such as criminal record, marital or family status. The efforts are largely driven by the precepts of egoism where the employers act for their self-interest in ensuring that they hire disciplined people (Shaw & Barry, 2013). Though the legal perspective would perceive such examination as a violation of the right to privacy and personal information, the ethical consideration views the matter as purely out of the moral responsibility of the employer. In the event of making new recruitments, organizations need to have a clear understanding of the employees’ background (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). That would be very instrumental in dealing with issues such as conflict, poor quality of work, and even employee motivation and dedication to the work. Understanding the criminal records of a current or prospective employee would, for instance, assist employers to take cautious measures when handling such employees (DesJardins & McCall, 2014). The differentiation of treatment according to history is useful in establishing a moral and accommodative working environment for all employees.
Should employers be allowed to require that applicants or employees give the employer access to digital information, such as Facebook or Twitter?
Employers should not be allowed to obtain pertinent information concerning digital information such as social media account logins. The moral inappropriateness of such actions is that employees get constrained and socially limited and oppressed. The theory of egoism plays a significant role when employers decided to trash the desires of the employees for their own self-interest (Shaw & Barry, 2013). The fact that an employer has the access and monitoring privileges on an employee’s social network is, in itself, a curtailment of employee happiness. Anything that denies people of happiness is apparently unethical and worth dismissal (Rushton, 2016). Ethical requirements promote a situation in which employers obtain such information from legitimate sources such as the individuals themselves without acquiring access to the personal digital information (Chell, Spence, Perrini, & Harris, 2016). Demanding such information from applicants or employees is also evidently unethical because of the lack of options at the time of seeking for a job. It is unethical to take advantage of the desperation to obtain or maintain a job to extract personal digital information from people.
DesJardins, J. R., & McCall, J. J. (2014). Contemporary issues in business ethics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Chell, E., Spence, L. J., Perrini, F., & Harris, J. D. (2016). Social entrepreneurship and business ethics: does social equal ethical? Journal of Business Ethics, 133(4), 619-625.
Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2015). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Scarborough, Canada: Nelson Education.
Hartman, L. P., DesJardins, J. R., MacDonald, C., & Hartman, L. P. (2014). Business ethics: Decision making for personal integrity and social responsibility. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Moore, D. (2015). As marijuana attitudes ease, drug testing companies brace for fight. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2015/07/12/Workplace-drug-testing-sparks-debate/stories/201506140006.
Rushton, K. (2016). Bosses free to spy on emails. Retrieved from https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-mail/20160114/281479275411737.
Shaw, W. H., & Barry, V. (2013). Moral issues in business. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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