In the ethical simulation Aaron Web an employee in the IT department of the company we worked for wrote a blog about some confidential information within in our company. It is against company policy for employees to release confidential information about our company. In this company it is my duty not to reward employees who violate the code of conduct or break the law, to honor employees’ right to free expression even when they are critical of the company, and to ensure that privileged information about the company is not made public.
After some investigation and an anonymous tip from another employee that hacked into Aaron’s home computer I decided that it would be best for our company to let Aaron go, because I felt that simply letting him off with a warning would not send a strong enough message to him and other employees about the seriousness of breaking company policy.
Although Jamal Moore who I was told is a good employee and was diligent in investigating the situation to prove that our company network is not secure enough I thought it was best to let him go as well, because hacking into another employee’s personal computer is also against company policy and two wrongs do not make a right, nor did I think it would be ethical to fire one person for breaking company policy and not another.
Personally I would have preferred to let Jamal off with a warning, because his supervisor did tell me that he is a good employee, and without the information he provided it would have been hard to catch Aaron, but to protect the company from a law suit I thought it was best to let him go as well. It was more important for me to think of what would be best for the company as a whole using Utilitarian ethics which focuses on the greater good for the greatest number of people in the company as well as Consequentialist Ethics which focuses on the consequences of a decision or action.
I had to think about how other employee’s would react if this situation was taken lightly, as well as the reputation of our company. I didn’t want the situation to be taken lightly, because I wanted to send a message to any employee working for our company that it is not ok to break company policy for any reason, and I wanted our shareholders to feel that their investment is being protected at all costs. It does personally bother me that I had to make such a drastic decision that may negatively affect the lives of 2 people, but I felt the need to make that decision to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.
At my job at the West Palm Beach Veteran’s Hospital my supervisor has a no nonsense approach to employees being late, because in the past she has seen that if one person gets away with it there is usually someone one else that might try it, and not only does it make the company look bad, but it effects productivity. Doing this ethics simulation showed me how hard it can be to make ethical decisions in the work place, because they don’t always agree with your personal ethical values.
One personal experience where my personal ethical belief did not agree with the policy at my job is when a patient in a wheel chair had to be at another appointment within in the hospital, and needed assistance getting there so that he would not be late. As a medical support assistant it is my job to call aid and assistance to come pick the patient up to take him to is next appointment. It is against company policy to assist in moving a patient unless you are a part of the clinical staff.
I know that the people that work in aid and assistant are usually late to pick patients up for their next appointment, and didn’t want te patient to be late, because in many cases when a patient is more than 15 minute their appointment is cancelled. I would have liked to help him get to his appointment, but I did not want disciplinary action taken against me if my supervisory discovered that I had left my desk without consent. Although I was not able to physically help the patient I was able to call the clinic where his next appointment was located and let them know that he might be running a little late.
Although I felt it was not ethical for me to not be able to help the patient get to his next appointment I understood why it was company policy, and I followed the rules, but still found a way to help the best I could. I think that there are a lot of things we have to take into account when making ethical decisions, and doing the ethics simulation showed me how to evaluate situation in more depth to reach a decision that is best for everyone involved.
Courtney from Study Moose
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