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Ethical Behavior

Conforming to moral
standards or conforming to
standards of conduct of
profession or group
–Adapts to social norms and
in response to needs and
interests of those affected
Areas of Concern for Class

Employee privacy
 Privacy – the state of being free from unsanctioned
intrusion into one’s behavior or personal information
 Confidentiality - discretion in keeping secret
 Ethical dilemma – any situation that has the potential
to result in a breach of acceptable behavior
 Ethical choice – considered choice among alternative
courses of action in which the interests of all parties
have been clarified and the risks and gains have been
evaluated openly and mutually
Does an employer have the right to search an
employee’s computer files or review the
employee’s email or voice mail?
Can companies keep information about the
employee in separate files (the employee’s file
and the supervisor’s file) and allow the
employee access to only one?
Can employers use private investigation
agencies to collect information about their
Can an employer give employment
information about an individual to a potential
creditor or to a landlord?
Fair information practices
 Employees should:
– Know company’s written policy
– Abstain from personal internet use if in doubt
– Use own email account
– Limit personal surfing/emailing to times outside office hours
– When composing email or downloading info, ask yourself if
you’d post in on your office door
– When it comes to privacy in the workplace, assume you
don’t have any
 To establish a fair information practice policy,
employers should:
– Set up guidelines & policies to protect information in the
 Limit information collection
 Ensure accuracy, timeliness, completeness of info
 Limit external disclosures
– Inform employees of info-handling policies
 Type and use of information
– Become thoroughly familiar with state & federal laws regarding
 Regularly review for compliance
– Establish a policy that any manager or non-manager who
violates privacy principles will be subject to discipline or
Employees’ physical privacy

Can employers physically search

employees in the workplace?
We already heard that employers can
electronically monitor you at work, but can
they hire a private investigator to monitor you
outside of work?
To ensure employee’s physical
 Base the search/seizure policy on legitimate employer
 Include all types of searches
 Provide adequate notice to employees before
instituting the program
 Instruct those conducting the search not to touch
any employee (or to limit touching)
 Conduct search away from other employees and on
company time
 Don’t observe in areas in which there is a reasonable
expectation of privacy
 Ask if employee would like attorney present during
investigative interview
In her last job, a worker’s job title was HR assistant and her
responsibilities were to help the HR director by taking
employment interviews developed by the HR director and create
documents from them, create the database corresponding to the
compensation plan developed by the HR director, and creating a
system to organize employee files containing performance
evaluations conducted by the HR director.
She learned a great deal from this HR director during her tenure
with the company, but she is currently updating her resume to
look for a new position.
When she lists her experience, can she say that she has
experience creating employment interviews, creating
compensation systems, and creating performance evaluation
Suppose you work for a large organization and
there is talk that the employees are going to
file suit against the company for improper
hiring and promotion practices. The head of
HR asks you to conduct research into the
company’s previous decisions but asks you to
keep your findings secret. You find that the
company has been discriminating against
What would you do?
Who do you think will blow the
Those working for organizations perceived by others to be
responsible to complaints or not responsible to them?
Those who hold professional or nonprofessional positions?
Those with positive or negative attitudes toward their work?
Those with long or short service with the company?
Those who have recently been recognized for good
performance or those who have recently received poor
Women or men?
Those working in large or small work groups?