Tag Archive | ethics

Should Concern for Drug Abuse Overrule Concerns for Employee Privacy?

ntroduction

This is an opinion paper on Part 3 Issue 10 of the textbook Taking Sides, Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Business Ethics and Society (6th ed.) by Lisa H. Newton and Maureen M. Ford. In this paper I will discuss my reaction to the issue “Should Concern for Drug Abuse Overrule Concerns for Employee Privacy”. The text discussed both sides of this issue. Michael A. Verespej took the “Yes” position in his paper Drug Users – Not Testing – Anger Workers. Jennifer Moore took the “No” position in his paper Drug Testing and Corporate Responsibility: The ‘Ought Implies Can’. I will give my opinion on the topic as it relates to the discussion in the text.

Body

In his paper, Verespej took the position that concerns for drug abuse should override the privacy of the employee. To support this point, he showed data that people are less worried about inaccurate tests and that the majority of employees support testing.

In her paper, Moore took the position that concerns for drug abuse should not override the privacy of the employee. She believes that employees have moral privacy rights and that drug testing almost always trespasses on these rights. She believes that while corporations can be held responsible legally and morally for an employee’s actions on the job, that they should not have the right to require drug testing.

I did not find Moore’s paper to be well written. Often I had to go back and check if I was reading the “Yes” or “No” paper because it was not clear from reading. That said, I agree with Moore that corporations should have a moral right to prevent harm or damage caused by their employees. I also believe that if they should only be held morally and legally responsible for that which they can control. Corporate responsibility, in my opinion, should be something that every company practices. To this end, I see no problem with a corporation requiring employees to be drug tested in order to gain employment with a firm. An employee may have a moral right to privacy if they wish it, but what moral right does the employee have to a job with a particular firm? Many people trade off their right to privacy on a daily basis for jobs in the government sector as many of these jobs require a security clearance (as well as drug testing). I believe the amount of privacy to give up should be the decision of the employee. If they do not wish to give up that privacy, there are other jobs.

As Verespej noted, most employees have no moral issue with drug testing and the majority even favor it. In jobs where safety is an issue it makes workers feel more secure. In jobs where security is a must, it helps to prevent data leaks due to impaired judgment. The burden of cost for the testing is on the employer, so it is not keeping poor people from getting jobs. If the employees as a whole have no moral issue with the testing and the employers are for it, this should constitute the moral norm.

In her paper, Moore also did not offer any alternatives to drug testing. If drug testing is an infringement on employees, then how can we make sure they are drug-free in the workplace without invading their privacy? I would love to see some studies on using drug-sniffing dogs or chemical sensors to tell if employees have been using drugs during company hours. If methods such as these are viable and not cost-prohibitive it could change the way we view drug testing in the workplace.

Conclusion

I see no moral reasons why compulsory drug testing by employers should be discontinued. I believe it makes the workplace safer and helps companies fulfill their responsibility to their employees, their clients and society as a whole. I would wholly support any viable alternative to the current method of testing. Until such methods are available, I believe that drug testing in the workplace is the right thing to do.

Should Casino Gambling be Prohibited? An Ethics Paper

Opinion Paper – Should Casino Gambling be Prohibited

 

Introduction

This is an opinion paper on Part 2 Issue 7 of the textbook Taking Sides, Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Business Ethics and Society (6th ed.) by Lisa H. Newton and Maureen M. Ford. In this paper I will discuss my reaction to the issue “Should Casino Gambling be Prohibited”. The text discussed both sides of this issue. William A. Galston and David Wasserman took the “Yes” position in their paper Gambling Away Our Moral Capital. William R. Eadington took the “No” position in his paper The Proliferation of Commercial Gambling in America. I will give my opinion on the topic as I think some important points were missed by the authors.

 

Body

While reading the articles I noticed a couple issues that were not addressed that I thought should be. First off, no one mentioned internet gambling. Second, no one mentioned whether or not the government had the right to prohibit gambling.

 

According to (http://gsulaw.gsu.edu/lawand/papers/su01/feldman/), the first online casino opened in 1995. Since then the industry has grown by leaps and bounds. For this reason, gambling is just a credit card or a PayPal account away. I wondered why neither author mentioned internet gambling revenues in their figures. I’m certain they are substantial. This also pushed the morality of gambling into the realms of other issues. Regulating the internet is a nightmare at best and considered by some an infringement on freedom of speech.

 

My personal political and moral leanings lean toward lack of government intervention in the personal lives of it’s citizens. For this reason I do not believe gambling should be prohibited. The issue of government sponsored gambling such as lotteries is another story. I can see both sides of this issues, however. The poor pay little to no taxes. They do, however, buy a disproportionate amount of lottery tickets. Some may say this is exploitation of the poor, but I tend to disagree. Unless someone is a compulsive gambler, they do not spend their rent money on the lottery. They spend what they consider to be their entertainment income. If the lottery was not taking the money, where would it be spent? What about the compulsive gamblers? They’ll find another outlet. I know a woman who had to go to Gamblers Anonymous due to her bingo habit. And failing that, there are always the riverboat and the internet.

 

Conclusion

While many people have moral objections to gambling I don’t think it’s a force that can be stopped. Even if someone convinced me that it was a rot on our society I would not want to see the government regulate it. Gambling should be left as a personal choice.

Reaction Paper on A Practical Companion to Ethics

Perspectives on Ethics

Reaction Paper on A Practical Companion to Ethics

Introduction

This is the Reaction Paper on the textbook A Practical Companion to Ethics by Anthony Weston. In this paper I will discuss my reaction to the textbook A Practical Companion to Ethics, by Anthony Weston. As there are five chapters in the book, I will cover the text in five sections, one section per chapter.

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The first chapter of the text is entitled “Getting Started.” This chapter discusses the basic tenets of ethics and introduces us to the terminology we need to know in order to discuss it. The chapter starts out with a discussion of what Ethics actually is. To do this, it also states what Ethics is not. Ethics is not morals. It is, however the study of morals as well as an analytical thought process that allows us to develop our morals and values as well as to coherently defend them in a discussion. Toward this end, the text asks us to change our attitude and our actions in several ways. First, it asks us to think about situations instead of just responding based on our feelings. It asks us to not rationalize, but to use valid logic to think about or morals and values. Finally, it asks us to think critically about our own morals and values instead of just thinking of them as being set in stone.

The second chapter of the text is entitled “Thinking for Yourself.” This is a philosophy that I wholeheartedly agree with. The text makes the point that we cannot fail to make decisions. I believe this is correct. Even deciding not to make a decision or follow the crowd is a decision. The chapter discusses the appeals to authority that each of us makes those to social norms, those to authority and those to God. The text goes into the most depth about appeals to God. I believe this is a good example and one that most people can identify with. Even those who do not believe in God are effected by other’s beliefs in a higher power. For example, the recent case of the Judge who was suspended for failing to remove a monument with the 10 commandments from government property. For him, this was a case of religious persecution. For an atheist, however, it may have been a case of being able to live their live without the influence of another’s religion. Even if we choose to follow the rules of God or society, this is a choice. It does not negate us of our personal ethical responsibility.

The third chapter of the text is entitled “Creative Problem-Solving in Ethics.” This chapter deals with ways to find new options to solve ethical problems using creativity. The part on expanding options uses many of the methods that I have learned in my Project Management training such as brainstorming and free association. I was most interested in the part on reframing the problem. Looking for opportunities in problems is not a new idea, but it is an often forgotten one. Thinking preventatively also seems to be a new trend. More and more businesses are looking at preventing problems instead of dealing with them as they are solved. For instance, companies such as Motorola have introduced 6-sigma training to prevent product flaws. These flaws would normally either cost the company money to fix, or cost them customer goodwill if they refused to fix them. The moral dilemma is almost completely eliminated when the company puts processes in place to make sure their products are 99.99997% defect free. With luck and training, maybe many of today’s ethical problems can be eliminated through creativity.

The forth chapter of the text is entitled “Don’t Polarize — Connect.” This chapter discusses the tendency to make moral dilemmas into black and white, two sided constructs. This makes it easier for us to choose and make our point of view seem right and the other point of view wrong. The text suggests that we use strategies to integrate our values with those of others. For instance, if our values are very different from those of another we can often find a compromise that will work for both. We can examine different values to find ways in which they are compatible instead of seeing them as being completely divisive. We can also work from the common ground of shared values. For example, people who are for and against gun control both value safety. They just believe in different ways to get it.

The fifth chapter of the text is entitled “Ethics with a Heart.” This chapter discusses the tendency for people to be closed-hearted. This is taken to mean that one sees others as less important or not as completely human as oneself. It is easy to be closed off when you spend much of the time being self-centered. It is not as easy when you constantly think about others and the way in which you affect them. One of the strategies in the text was to be mindful. Being fully in the moment and aware of your actions can help you to treat others in ways in which we would like to be treated. In other words, it helps us to treat them like human beings.

Conclusion

I liked this text book very much. It was short, concise and filled with interesting examples and parables. The issues and controversies discussed such as racism, sexism, homosexuality, and ecological responsibility were current and applicable to today’s society. It not only showed us what ethics was, but how to study ethics, how to learn from those who disagree with us, and to get along with them. Finally, it taught us strategies for being a better person through ethical thinking. I believe it was an excellent book for an introduction to Social Ethics.