Employee rights are privileges that an employee has to be handled in a morally acceptable, fair, and better manner. These rights entitle employees to ethical treatment by their employers within their workplaces. Employee responsibilities refer to the duties or particular obligations put upon employees, which they are expected to undertake while at the workplace (Huffman, 2003). Several rights and responsibilities of employees have been pinpointed in the scenario demonstrated which include:
- Obey and comply with the organization's ethical policies.
- Follow the instructions and guidelines given by employers.
- Uphold safety and care for the organization's property.
Obey and comply with the organization's ethical policies
Organizations have principled and well laid-down corporate ethical policies that both the employers and the employees are expected to obey and adhere. These policies help in shaping the organizational culture and instilling good moral behavior among employees and employers. Therefore, employees are expected to comply with the latter's stipulated ethical policies while performing their duties within an organization.
In the scenario, the marketing firm has made it mandatory for new employees to attend a training process on the organization's corporate ethical policies to ensure that the employees have a good understanding of its ethical policies. The new employees are thereby well conversed with the firm's policies and values, which are the organization's pride. Additionally, the employees are obliged to attend mandatory ethical training, which happens annually. The practice, therefore, helps in maintaining the organization's culture and the well-being of employees.
Follow instructions and guidelines given by employers
Employers in firms have the mandate to delegate duties and exercise authority over employees. It involves guidance on how to perform tasks within the organization and routine directives to be followed by employees. Employers ensure efficiency and proficiency in the firm's duties, thereby improving its performance and output. Therefore, employees must follow the guidelines laid down by employers, thus strengthening the employee-employer work relationship.
For instance, in the scenario demonstrated by the firm, employees have a responsibility to follow the directives given by the Ethics Officer and the Human resource director during training on the ethical policies of the firm. It improves the employees' understanding of the culture of the organization and its values. Following instructions to the latter ensures no mistakes are made in taking up duties within the firm.
Uphold safety and care for organizations' property
Employees in organizations are entitled to maintain proper care and safety of any property or materials provided to them and owned by the organization or workplace. These materials might be used by employees while performing their duties at the workplace. Poor safety and care of the organizations' property may lead to colossal damage or loss, hence reducing output in the firm. In regards to this, employees in organizations are always accountable for any loss or damage to the firms' property that might have resulted from poor care or safety.
The marketing firm scenario depicts the aspect and needs for safety and care for the firm's property. For instance, the team anticipates presenting development materials for training to the employees in the two-day training session. Therefore, the employees should keep the training materials safe and in good care, to ensure efficiency and smooth running of the training process.
Ethical Responsibilities of Employers
The employee-employer relationship should be viewed from an economic perspective and as a human relationship with a mutual dependency. Employees need fair treatment from employers too. Therefore, employers have ethical obligations they are expected to fulfill to their employees to ensure the well-being of the employees at the workplace(Lee and Greenlaw,1998). Some of the ethical employer responsibilities include:
- Providing training and supervision for employees.
- Providing information to employees.
Providing training and supervision to employees
Firms provide training sessions for newly recruited employees to equip them with adequate skills and knowledge concerning their culture, behavior, and values. It provides the employees with the experience of the firm's ethical policies to be adhered to while taking up duties and activities within the organization. Employers usually initiate training programs for their employees to equip them with the skills to perform tasks and businesses in the firm. Supervision also ensures that employees carry out their duties efficiently and in the right manner. For example, the Ethics officer and Human resource director in the scenario jointly initiate employee training sessions, thus improving their proficiency in the organization's duties. It also helps employees in coming up with new skills that will benefit the firm at large.
Providing information to employees
Employees, just like employers, have the right to receive adequate information concerning the plans the organization may have towards the well-being of its employees. Therefore, employers are entitled to make their employees informed before undertaking some decisions or activities that may impact the employees' well-being. For example, the employees in the marketing firm given in the scenario are well -informed about the organization's annual ethical training sessions.
Ethical Business Dilemma
An ethical dilemma is a problem in decision making between two alternatives where none of the options is acceptable. Most ethical dilemmas do not have straight forward answers. Suppose an ethical practice where a company employee conducts his/her business on the company time by making phone calls and using the company's internet connection in his/her side business while on the company time. According to the company's policies, it is unethical to conduct business while in the company; therefore, the employee violates the company's ethical standards. In another perspective, what if the spouse to the employee calls to inform him/her about an accident or illness, is it ethical for the employee to use the company telephone to book a doctor's appointment? This business dilemma attracts critical decision-making between the employee and the company standards.
Appraisal of Ethical Business Dilemma in Utilitarian and Relativistic Perspective
The utilitarianism theory states that "the consequences of any action are the only standard of right and wrong." This theory holds that an activity is morally right if it produces the most significant benefit for most people (Fishburn, 1970). Surprisingly, the two situations have logic, creating a conflict of priorities, and therefore no choice will meet everyone's satisfaction. If the employee is pragmatic, he/she enjoys the pleasure with the most significant benefit, but still against the company's standards.
The theory of relativism states that people set their moral standards for judging their actions. It also adds that individuals' values and self-interest are adequate to decide his/her behavior. Relativist individuals usually follow their interests in critical situations (Park, 2005). If the employer is relativist, he/she develops his/her self-interests, which declares the practices unethical, thus violating the company's standards.
Ethical Decisions in Employer-Employer Perspective
Decision- making becomes a problem in a very critical and challenging ethical business dilemma. Suppose we have a scenario where employees jointly work as a team to do a particular task, yet not all the team members contribute to the final work. If four members of a five-member team helped to complete the whole job, do the four members demand proper credit while singling out the other one member who did not contribute? The dilemma becomes critical to decide. It cannot be charming if members point out a single member for not participating. Alternatively, all the members may choose to credit themselves the praise even though not all contributed. Therefore, to mark an end to this, team members should break down the work, and each member is delegated specific tasks to perform. The single passive member violates the company's policy on teamwork by not contributing to the joint responsibility.
In another scenario, an employee may steal stationery and other valuables from a company, or even money, all account embezzling. It results in a drastic reduction in stock and finances. Taking items without paying for them is unethical, and thus violating the company's standards
Explanations of Ethical Decisions
One member of a team fails to contribute to the task, completed by the other four members. It is unethical to give credit to all the members for the completed job since one member does not deserve it. Therefore, it is ethical to single out the passive member due to the violation of the company policy on teamwork.
Taking items in the company stores without paying for them due to the availability of surplus stock in the store is stealing. It is not encouraged by the policies of the company and is therefore considered unethical. The employee may defend himself/herself by claiming to assume that the stationery is of no use or expired.
Fishburn, P. C. (1970). Utility theory for decision making (No. RAC-R-105). Research analysis corp McLean VA. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/708563.pdf
Huffman, N. (2003). Employers, employees, and ethics. The ASHA Leader, 8(18), 23.
Lee, R. D., & Greenlaw, P. S. (1998). Rights and responsibilities of employees and employers under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Journal of Individual Employment Rig hts, 7(1), 87-89. http://triggered.stanford.clockss.org/ServeContent?url=http://baywood.stanford.clockss.org%2FBWIE%2FBAWOOD_BWIE_7_1%2F3FB95YRKB7NYG0ED.pdf
Park, H. (2005). The role of idealism and relativism as dispositional characteristics in the socially responsible decision-making process. Journal of Business Ethics, 56(1), 81-98 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Haesun_Park-poaps/publication/225860970_The_Role_of_Idealism_and_Relativism_as_Dispositional_Characteristics_in_the_Socially_Responsible_Decision-Making_Process/links/5804f16608ae98cb6f2a5e99/The-Role-of-Idealism-and-Relativism-as-Dispositional-Characteristics-in-the-Socially-Responsible-Decision-Making-Process.pdf
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