Workplace ethics is one of the most important issues today as it determines privacy and confidentiality. Every employee can expect workplace safety and healthy working conditions. If it can be agreed on that ethical behavior is legal behavior plus some other element, then it is important that this additional element be identified, if possible. At first blush, many people will probably agree that this additional element is the collection of moral principles and values of what is right and what is wrong and what is good and what is bad, as determined by group behavior or by some member of the group (Boatright, 2001). At this point of definition, it appears that one’s behavior is ethical if it is legal and in accordance with group norms. Based on discussions and some recent philosophies, this is what many would have everyone believe (Buchholz and Rosenthal 2002). The brother of one of the employee in a small restaurant was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease (AD) and died. This information became available to the company. The two unethical problems arisen from this case are unlawful blood testing without notice of the employee and his dismissal during the next month (Beauchamp and Bowie 2003). The paper will discuss and analyze ethical principles and behavior of the restaurant using different theories of ethics.
The main moral problem is that the restaurant will heave to pay for probable treatment and pension funds if the same disease is diagnosed with their chief (Sims, 2003). The company’s management instructed the lab to screen this chief for AD, but did not inform the chief about this test. In terms of ethical and moral principles, the company violates them and abuse personal rights of the employee. Legal considerations also rank high in the decision process. In addition to high visibility in the media, businesses also pay attention to statistics on the high cost of workplace drug use–including data on lost time, accidents, drug treatment and related health care expenses, employee theft, and the like (Sims, 2003). Available national estimates can be persuasive, and a few employers also have gathered compelling statistics about conditions in their own companies. The case does not provide the information about results of Alzheimer disease tests and the causes of employee’s dismissal. The chief can be fired for other reasons which have nothing to do with Alzheimer disease tests and disease of his brother. Thus, this information is not so important because the problem of the case is that the company violates abuse rights of the employee.
These two problems allow to say that the company behaved illegally and unethically taking into account personal gain only. The utilitarian approach will help to discuss and analyze the problems (Sims, 2003). This definition is, however, short sighted and flawed in that it does not clearly define “group” or the standards and values upon which the “group ethical norms” are based. For proper business and social conduct, these ethical standards and values must be shared by not only individuals but by the total business community and society as a whole. Without agreement by all parties involved, only legality exists to control the actions of everyone (see Appendix Graph 1). Utilitarianism is referred to by some as the consequentialist ethical theory. It is expressed in the form that asserts that people should always act so as to produce the greatest ratio of good to evil for everyone. The utilitarians believe that when choosing between two actions, the one that produces the greatest net happiness should be the one chosen (Boatright, 2001). Where most of them disagree with one another is in the area of how this principle should be applied. There are also several stated weaknesses in this concept. It ignores actions that appear to be wrong in themselves; it espouses the concept that the end justifies the means; the principles may come into conflict with that of justice; and it is extremely difficult to formulate and establish satisfactory rules of application (Sims, 2003). Hardly a day goes by without picking up the newspaper and reading of someone or some business involved in fraud, price gouging, kick backs, negligence, pollution violations, or any number of other illegal or unethical practices. What is being done about this and what should be done about this by business, the government, and the academic community will be briefly examined after first looking at what the public thinks of the ethical and moral climate of the nation and its major professions (Beauchamp and Bowie 2003).
The case of Alzheimer disease and unlawful blood testing shows that the duty of confidentiality requires that information provided to the restaurant management shall not be disclosed without the specific consent of the client. For example, plans about future corporate activity must never be used for personal advantage: secrets may not be sold or bartered (Boatright, 2001). A corollary of this duty is what courts call privileged communication. Autonomy ethics suggests that the company and the chief should protect their rights and freedoms thus each of them should follow autonomy rules and prevent intrusion in personal lives of each other. This concept states that a professional may not be called upon, in court or in another legally constituted body, to divulge confidential information. For example, a lawyer may not be compelled to testify about her client (Sims, 2003).
The problems are that how does the chief perceive problems at the workplace and what particular conditions contribute to their decision to develop blood-testing programs? If tests are positive and the Alzheimer disease is determined, the company will have to fire this chief because of safety and job related risk. The danger is that Alzheimer disease is characterized by uncoordinated, jerky body movements and decline of mental functions (see Appendix Graph ). These conditions can appear accidentally and can create a risk for dozens of employees and safety of the environment (Donaldson et al 2002).
Based on findings, testing is a strategy not lightly undertaken. Many players are involved in researching the issue, and the investigation usually takes months–sometimes years–before either a positive or negative decision is reached. The chief should leave the company because of safety concerns. Management patterns for testing programs reflect the corporation’s organizational structure and reporting relationships (Sims, 2003). For the most part, drug testing is a headquarters-driven program. The corporate staff is responsible for developing the policy, and administrative authority for the testing program remains at the corporate level. Top management is directly linked through the chain of command to the program’s operation. It is possible to use mass media informing other people about the choice and possible dangers of ignoring such problems as genetic neurological disorders (Beauchamp and Bowie 2003).
Recommendations and Conclusion
The two moral dilemmas (unlawful blood testing and dismissal of the employee) show that the duty of workplace morality becomes one employee may more easily associate with business enterprise if employees expand upon definition a bit. A commonly held and frequently cited moral rule is that business organizations have the duty to make profits. Total impact provides the broad classification into which the deontological basis suggested here will fit. The classifications scheme could take the form of accounts set up for each of the duties that a n organization has chosen as applicable to it. Since doing one’s responsibility has an associated impact upon profit, an account would also be created to summarize those effects over periods of time. The restaurant management is a key professional involved in assisting management with the task of setting responsibilities and with monitoring progress toward meeting such responsibilities (Donaldson et al 2002). The codes of ethics field settle norms and conditions of work and industry requirements. The ethics concept underlines that acting in a manner that produces the greatest amount of love, fulfillment, and “the standard of care” (Boatright, 2001). That is, it contends that ethical action is the one that produces the greatest amount of love of all the alternatives available. In some measure any morally wrong act of a member of the profession affects the whole filed because by its very nature has advanced itself to society as a special society deserving special privilege and therefore having special responsibilities (Boatright, 2001).
The analysis shows that the restaurant management behaved unethically and had no right to dismiss the employee because of his family history. The Alzheimer’s disease is a not a cause of dismissal or illegal blood testing of a family member. The point of this predicament is that attempting to regulate the morals of others in the society is at best a difficult morass. Furthermore, clients who receive services so cheaply, come to expect future prices at comparable bargain levels. The final determinant of ethical worth of any belief is one’s own belief and justification that supports it. It puts emphasis on what is popular instead of what is necessarily correct or incorrect. Rather than offer a ethical judgment that is binding on all people, at all times, everywhere, it is flexible and variable in every situation (Boatright, 2001). Duties of faire treatment of all employees are the most difficult duties of restaurant management to translate to an organization. Duties of self-improvement rest on the issue that one can improve his/her own condition with respect to good value or intelligence. An example is the practice of organizations paying the cost of sending managers to universities to improve their skills and knowledge (Boatright, 2001). Utilitarians would undoubtedly argue that such achievement is taken to improve profits through lower costs generated from the better management the organization expects to receive from better-educated managers. The analysis allows to say everyone could argue that by failure to improve managers’ knowledge of ethics, a corporation has caused the public to incur greater risk of unethical conduct by the organization Organizations would undeniably justify this practice on such utilitarian grounds. Though, the ethics must truly be stretched to translate an individual manager’s education to the bottom line. A more credible explanation for such things as classes in human relations might be found in the desire to fulfill a duty for self-improvement.
Beauchamp, T., and Bowie, N. (eds). (2003). Ethical Theory and Business, 7th edn, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Boatright, J. (2001). Ethics and the Conduct of Business, 2nd edn, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Buchholz, R. and Rosenthal, S. (2002). Business Ethics, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Donaldson, T., et al. (2002). Ethical Issues in Business, 7th edn, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Sims, R.R. (2003). Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Giants Fall. Praeger.