Employers and Employees Often Have Essay

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A consistent policy applied to all employees and applicants makes it far less likely that a business will be subject to litigation losses.

The old cliche is that "All is fair in love and war," but one might add that this includes the area of business as well. Businesses exist to make a profit and for many businesses if this means sacrificing the privacy of one or all of its employees means greater profits than it is a small price to pay. Fortunately, there are those in the business world who are aware of this philosophy and who take positive steps to develop a set of ethical standards to govern the operation of business (Tabak). The underlying attitude supporting these ethical standards is that the maintaining of ethical standards in regard to protecting the privacy of the individual is important in order to protect both the organization and its employees from legal action and to promote the business' reputation in the community.

One of the examples where businesses have applied ethical standards to the issue of privacy is in the area of drug testing. Drug testing has become as widespread as a background check with the theory usually being adopted by employers is the utilitarian one that produces the greatest excess of benefits over the harm (Baglione). This position often causes employers difficulty in application. The employer argues that they have a moral right to a fair day's work in exchange for a fair day's pay and that anything that seriously interferes with an employee rending a fair day's work is subject to review. The fact that drugs can significantly impair a person's work performance therefore grants the employer the right to test the employee. Employees, however, offer arguments to the contrary. First, employees view drug testing as a humiliating. Second, they see the results of drug testing as a poor basis for measuring a person's work performance. Recreational use may have no effect on an individual's work performance and if performance is the basis than testing for the sake of testing is simply an invasion of privacy.
Finally, the results of drug testing are notoriously unreliable. The statistical incident of erroneous results is extremely high and when the consequences are so possibly severe employees argue that they should not be relied upon (Carpenter).

The area of privacy concerns has intensified in recent years. Part of the reason for this increased concern is the fact that technological improvements have made the process much easier to apply but terrorism and immigration concerns have also caused it to be of particular concern. Such concern has caused employers to increase their vigilance in regard to security and for employees to surrender some of their privacy rights for the same reason (Sproule). As time passes and terrorism concerns are lessened, it can be expected that employers and employees will both relax their concerns. In the interim, it can be expected that both employers and employees continue to balance their respective interests to achieve workable privacy policies.

Privacy is important to nearly everyone and entering the business world can often mean the loss of a great deal of this privacy. Historically, employers have occupied a position of control on this issue and employees must be aware that, once employed, they must learn to accept a loss of their privacy. This privacy loss is not unbridled but, nevertheless, employers and employees should be careful in how they handle their personal affairs and recognize that privacy is important and that once violated difficult to restore.

Works Cited

Baglione, Stephen L. "Productivity vs. privacy for an organization's workforce." Journal of Academy of Business and Economics (2009).

Carpenter, Christopher S. "Workplace Drug Testing and Worker Drug Use." Health Services Research (2006): 795-810.

City of Ontario v. Quon. No. 130 S. Ct. 2619. U.S. Supreme Court. 17 June 2010.

Sproule, Clare M. "The Effect of the U.S.A. Patriot Act on Workplace Privacy." Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly (2002): 65-73.

Tabak, Filiz. "Privacy and Electronic Monitoring in the Workplace: A model of managerial cognition and relational trust development." Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal….....

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