Eth501 mod2case

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Edgardo Donovan (a.k.a. Eddie Donovan) is a CIO for the Department of Defense. Previously, Edgardo was the Director of Web Marketing/Design in Dublin, Ireland for the financial services division of First-e Group PLC one of Europe's largest e-Banks valued at 1.6 billion euros at the time.

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Eth501 mod2case

  1. 1. . . . . . . . . . . Is it Morally Acceptable for an Employer to Make Rules Against Dating in the . . . Workplace? . . . . . . . Edgar Donovan Touro University International ETH 501 Dr. Steven Gold Module 2 – Case Analysis Monday, February 7, 2005
  2. 2. . . . . . . . . . . Is it Morally Acceptable for an Employer to Make Rules Against Dating in the Workplace? Given the rise of dating relationships within the workplace along with the legal risks associated with them, it is an employer’s moral right and duty to enact policies . . . . . . . . designed to indemnify themselves against potential lawsuits that could devastate their financial health potentially destroying the livelihood of their employees. These . . policies range from the very strict, such as a comprehensive prohibition of dating between employees, to the more lenient, such as a policy that actively discourage, but ultimately allow, employees to fraternize (Wilson). After careful deontological and utilitarian considerations I have determined that these policies designed to curb the legal risks of workplace romance are practical from a long-term operational business standpoint and do not merit moral condemnation.
  3. 3. . . . . . . . . . . BUSINESS BACKGROUND “With more employees working longer days and spending so much of their time on-the-job, romantic relationships at work are developing more frequently. Workplace romance may be the only option for employees whose workload limits their outside activities; but for employers, this trend may prove problematic as the potential liability associated with these relationships rises. As protection from litigation and potential liability, some employers adopt policies directly addressing dating in the workplace. These policies range from the very strict, such as a comprehensive prohibition of dating between employees, to the more lenient, such as a policy that actively discourages, but ultimately allows, employees to fraternize. Even a simple policy requiring employees to notify management when coworkers are romantically involved provides documentation of a consensual relationship that could be helpful to an employer's defense against a sexual harassment claim, should one arise.” (Wilson) Ex.1. CartoonStock.com. Networking. 2005. Employers are morally empowered by virtue that they provide a product/service that the public wants, provide a means of sustenance to their employees, and that 2
  4. 4. their financial health is directly proportional to their ability to do so, to do everything possible to protect themselves against lawsuits that can arise from complications due to dating in the workplace. Although, they cannot control or monitor what happens outside the workplace they must try to do everything possible so that the workplace, much differently from a college or a university, does not become the focal point of the romantic and social lives of its employees. Ex. 2. CartoonStock.com. Temps. 2005. UTILITARIAN CONSIDERATIONS In order to prove that the actions of employers who enact policies that restrict freedom to date in the workplace are morally incorrect we must prove that they bring significant disutility to the groups affected by their actions. I have attempted to determine the short and long-term utilitarian impact that workplace dating restriction policies have on the following groups of people: • Employees: Anti-dating policies within the workplace are designed to protect the employer and directly positively affect employees because they safeguard their current source of livelihood. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and 3
  5. 5. . . . . . . . . . . many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment for the employee and employer. Whether or not these policies are overall positive for the employee depends on how positive the romantic relationships the employees deprive themselves are. There is no scientific rationale that we can use to measure the strength of a romantic relationship because they are subjective. One could say that if a romantic partner leaves their job to follow their significant other to another location because of a job opportunity they have been granted that they place a higher value on their romantic relationship than on their career goals at that junction in life. Similarly, if a couple breaks apart because one is offered another job at a distant location and neither want to compromise their career aspirations then you could say that the opposite is true. Dating restriction policies put the financial interests of employers and employees first and may hinder the romantic aspirations of the latter. A small portion of cases will undoubtedly force employees to put their economic interests ahead of their romantic ones or vice-versa. For those people the utilitarian considerations may be negative. However in light of all the concerned parties, these policies are positive overall. • Management Employees: Anti-dating policies within the workplace are designed to protect the employer and directly positively affect employees because they safeguard their current source of livelihood. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment for the employee and employer. Whether or not these policies are overall positive for the employee depends on how positive the romantic relationships the employees deprive themselves are. There is no scientific rationale that we can use to measure the strength of a romantic relationship because they are subjective. One could say that if a romantic partner leaves their job to follow their significant other to another location because of a job opportunity they have been granted that they place a higher value on their romantic relationship than on their career goals at that junction in life. Similarly, if a couple breaks apart because one is offered another job at a distant location and neither want to compromise their career aspirations then you could say that the opposite is true. Dating restriction policies put the 4
  6. 6. financial interests of employers and employees first and have the opportunity to hinder the romantic aspirations of the latter. A small portion of cases will undoubtedly force employees to put their economic interests ahead of their romantic ones or vice-versa. For those people the utilitarian considerations may be negative. However in light of all the concerned parties, these policies are positive overall. • Company/Organization: These policies are designed to protect the financial well being of the employer by reducing the risks of lawsuits. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they enhance productivity because they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment. • Customers: These policies are designed to protect the financial well being of the employer by reducing the risks of lawsuits. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they enhance productivity because they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment. Having a greater number of companies ensures competition that throughout American economic history has usually been linked to lower prices and greater quality choices for consumers. • Government: These policies are designed to protect the financial well being of the employer by reducing the risks of lawsuits. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they enhance productivity because they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment. The financial well being of an employer is proportional to the amount of taxes that the employer pays to the government according to their success in the marketplace. This argument is not valid for non-profit organizations. 5
  7. 7. . . . . . . . . . . • National Economy: These policies are designed to protect the financial well being of the employer by reducing the risks of lawsuits. The secondary benefits of these policies are that they enhance productivity because they reduce the risks of favoritism, sexual harassment, and many other elements that contribute to a non-hostile working environment. Greater economic output relies on the number and magnitude of financially successful employers operating in the country. • American Public: Greater economic output relies on the number and magnitude of financially successful employers operating in the country. The success of the economy increases the economic and political capital of the government that can work towards influencing the geopolitical sphere in a way that is more advantageous to American political and economic interests. These successful attainment of these interests increase the level of economic opportunity in the United States. The dating restriction policies put the financial interests of employers and employees first and have the opportunity to hinder the romantic aspirations of the latter. A small portion of cases will undoubtedly force employees to put their economic interests ahead of their romantic ones or vice-versa. For those people the utilitarian considerations may be negative. However in light of all the concerned parties, these policies are positive overall. DEONTOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS In order to illustrate that employer policies designed to discourage or prohibit dating in the workplace are morally wrong we must show that she infringed upon the rights of their employees protected by the US constitution. I think that the rationale used by the founding fathers in creating the constitution and the platform for the government based upon the latter is useful in understanding this situation. In the declaration of independence we notice that asides from the 6
  8. 8. positive rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness there is a prevailing amount of negative rights (Hinman) afforded to the citizens of the United States in the form of freedom from government interference on a variety of economical, political, religious, and social levels. However, this did not imply an absence of government. The government needed ensure a system based on an individual's right to live life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the extent that this did not encroach or threaten these same rights of other citizens. Therefore, the US government legislates and enforces law based on that principle. That is why by law you have freedom of speech but cannot incite violence or things that consequently bring physical harm to other citizens, you have freedom of religion but cannot sacrifice the lives of animals or people, you have freedom to conduct commerce but cannot steal or commit acts of fraud, and so forth. The idea behind this process is that one individual's freedom ends where another individual's freedom begins. From a deontological standpoint I cannot morally condemn employer policies that discourage or prohibit dating within the workplace. Given the number of negative freedoms present in our society, work is not a right but an opportunity made possible when it is financially remunerative for employers and employees to work together. The quality and quantity of those opportunities are directly proportional to the number of financially healthy employers and competent employees available in our country. Since policies affecting dating in the workplace are designed to avoid situations that can only harm the financial well being of employers representing the source of livelihood of employees they are morally sound. In the utilitarian considerations above I also illustrate how the financial well being of an employer has positive effects on the government and country as a whole. An employee is not forced to take a job with a company that enacts dating restriction and/or prohibition in the work place. If an employee decides to work for such an employer and to go against these policies they must do so at their own peril given that they are putting their interests ahead of the well being of everyone involved with the employer. Sometimes an employer, depending on their particular policies, can be accommodating to the employee who has a romantic relationship with another employee. For instance, a supervisor and a subordinate who are involved romantically may wish to come forward and notify the employer. If the employer has the means to transfer one of the two to another department without 7
  9. 9. . . . . . . . . . . bringing disutility to other employees or to the organization it may consider that option. Regardless, it is important to understand that because they affect everybody the needs of the employers come first and that the romantic needs of the employee come second. OPPOSING VIEWS Some of my colleagues may claim that employer policies to discourage or forbid dating in the workplace are immoral. In order to be successful in disproving my stance they will have to prove at least one of the two things: 1. Employers caused overall more disutility than utility to the groups affected by their actions (See Utilitarian Considerations). 2. If employers cause overall disutility it must have been done in a way that deprived an individual or group of individuals of either positive or negative rights protected by the US constitution (See Deontological Considerations). CONCLUSION Given the rise of dating relationships within the workplace along with the legal risks associated with them, it is an employer’s oral right and duty to enact policies designed to indemnify themselves against potential lawsuits that could devastate their financial health potentially destroying the livelihood of their employees. These policies range from the very strict, such as a comprehensive prohibition of dating between employees, to the more lenient, such as a policy that actively discourage, but ultimately allow, employees to fraternize (Wilson). After careful deontological and utilitarian considerations I have determined that these policies designed to curb the legal risks of workplace romance are practical from a long-term operational business standpoint and do not merit moral condemnation. 8
  10. 10. BIBLIOGRAPHY I. Works Cited Wilson, Rebecca - Filosa, Christine - Fennel, Alex. Romantic relationships at work: Does privacy trump the dating police? Defense Counsel Journal, Chicago, IL 2003. CartoonStock.com. Temps. 2005. CartoonStock.com. Networking. 2005. II. Works Consulted Wilson, Rebecca - Filosa, Christine - Fennel, Alex. Romantic relationships at work: Does privacy trump the dating police? Defense Counsel Journal, Chicago, IL 2003. Griffaton, Michael. Between the devil and the deep blue sea: Monitoring the electronic workplace. Defense Counsel Journal. 2003. CartoonStock.com. Temps. 2005. CartoonStock.com. Networking. 2005. Hinman, Lawrence. Lecture on Utilitarianism. 2004. Seglin, Jeffrey L. When the Truth Takes a Stretching Class. New York Times; New York , N.Y., 2001. 9

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