This week we conclude our consideration of some of the ethical issues and situations with respect to the employer/employee relationship. As we noted last week in examining some ethical issues in the hiring process and the question of compensation as often reflected in appraisal systems, there is likely no greater determinant of the success of a business than how it manages this relationship. A business that is challenged in terms of the relationships with its employees has an uphill battle with respect to its ultimate outreach to customers, clients, and consumers, seriously undermining its ability to operate as a successful going concern.
Continuing our consideration of employer/employee ethical issues, Chapter 9, (pp. 154-180), focuses on ethical issues involving the termination of employees. When one is terminated from a job, this can be a rather traumatic experience, particularly if it involves a for cause termination (some act by the employee deemed to be a violation of company policy). As your text points out, different considerations are at play with respect to terminations if the employee is employed pursuant to a contract, or is a member of a collective bargaining organization (union). The majority of workers, however, are what is designated as “at will employees”, which in sum means, they can be terminated at any time and for any reason that does not violate the law.
As you consider the ethical issues in the termination of employees, pay close attention to the connection and interaction of the three ethical approaches we have been discussing—rights and duties, fairness and justice, and utilitarian. Ask yourself how each of these approaches are implicated by employee terminations, and whether they might lead to different outcomes.
Our second theme this week concerns the complex, yet interesting topic of privacy. When you think about privacy generally, keep in mind that it involves levels of information and their sharing. The focus of our review as set forth in Chapter 10, (pp. 181-209), is on privacy issues in both the case of applicants for employment, and employees. What is fair game to request of applicants for employment? Is it satisfactory as Gilbert suggests for an applicant unhappy with the pre-employment process to simply withdraw from consideration?
In terms of employees, the overriding consideration is the need to balance and protect legitimate concerns of the employer versus an employee’s right to be free of unwarranted intrusions. An interesting aspect of the privacy concerns as it relates to employees which Gilbert discusses involves drug testing.
As in the termination discussion in Chapter 9, consider how the privacy concerns connect to the rights and duties, fairness and justice, and utilitarian ideas.
In today’s environment where there is such great reliance on emails and the technology attendant to the internet, Gilbert offers some insightful comments regarding the monitoring of employees’ email and use of the internet by the employer. Where do you come out on this? Do employees have an expectation of privacy that puts their email content off limits to the employer? How far should the employer go in monitoring the email and social media activity of its employees?
The discussion (learning activity) for the week is an interesting case scenario that provides an opportunity for you to consider and discuss some of the ethical challenges attendant to the termination process, and some of the privacy concerns. Again, there is no right or wrong answer in terms of how you resolve the ethical dilemma. The primary consideration is that your decision is supported by your analysis and is otherwise defended.
Reminder of Things to Do:
Review of course resources in the schedule.
Discussion (Learning Activities)—initial responses by Saturday, November 12, 2022—follow-up to at least 4 colleagues’ postings by Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
Let’s have a fun week!

Week 4 discussion response 2

must respond to the post below.

What do you think is the ethical thing to do in this situation and what would you choose to do regardless?

Without a doubt, I would fire Rob Spears. Never mind that he is perfectly fine with committing document fraud, to the point of joking about it with others! But, more importantly, he is completely at ease with the fact that he is in there every day, putting his patients’ lives in danger. Health care workers are at a higher risk of contracting communicable diseases, as well as spreading the same diseases to their patients (Field, 2009). Rob moves from patient to patient, running the risk of contracting COVID or passing it on to someone who is severely immunocompromised with each contact. His carelessness is astounding. He openly disregarded the new rule requiring the COVID vaccine. Unfortunately, medical professionals all over the world experienced the same problem. Many chose to resign in protest, and many were fired for refusing to receive the vaccine. Rob chose the more illegal route, presenting a forged immunization card. He would be fired for cause, which in this case would almost certainly result in the best outcome for the greatest number of people (Gilbert, 2016).


Field, R. JD, MPH, PhD. (2009). Mandatory vaccination of health care workers. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from

Gilbert, J. (2016). Ethics for managers: philosophical foundations and business realities (Chapter 9). Routledge. Retrieved from

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