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Employee privacy in the workplace

By Edited Sep 2, 2015 0 0

How much a company potential employer can infringe on privacy should mainly be based on job relevance. Asking questions such as sexual orientation or religion are not relevant to the job (unless that job specifically needs that type of person), and hose questions can lead to discrimination. Trying to probe a potential employee’s personal life, such as what they do for fun or leisure, is also not relevant to the job, even if they are trying to find out what type of person the candidate is. People have a right to keep those aspects of their life private.

An employer should have a right to perform drug tests and background checks because this promotes a safe work environment for the many people that work for the company. It is good thing to check if someone has a criminal record or abuses drugs, since these can cause serious problems within the workplace and could potentially harm other people. Many of these decisions should be based on circumstances and the types of jobs people are performing. A school bus driver or a teacher who works will kids all day should be subject to higher levels of screening because of the nature of their work, as opposed to someone being hired to do basic cleaning or janitorial work. In order to ensure that people’s privacy is not intruded upon is to the least amount of probing while getting enough information to properly perform the job. Basically, it should be determined on a case-to-case basis.

Screening people for activities such as smoking outside of work hours, having unprotected sex, and other health threatening activities should not be allowed since these are done outside of the workplace, are not illegal, and don’t have the potential of hurting anyone at the workplace.
In a sense, two theories need to be followed in determining how much screening can be done: the Kantian and the utilitarian. The utilitarian theory helps because employers need to look out for the good of the company and the people working in the company, so screening within reason promotes that others won’t get hurt. The figure out the “within reason” we need to use Kant’s theory that “if the moral law is valid for you, it must be valid for all others.” The screening must be valid for everyone, and those conducting need to ask them if they would subject themselves to the same scrutiny. They also need to keep in mind that humanity is an end, and not merely a means. They can’t do unnecessary screening to probe in to people’s private lives so as to make a decision based on what they think is moral.



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