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Private detective hired to snoop on job applicant’s sex life

December 1, 2009 2 comments

Private detective hired to snoop on job applicant’s sex life
The article “Private detective hired to snoop job applicant’s sex life” reveals another scandal of the Deutsche Telekom which reportedly hired an private detective to investigate the sex life of a potential employee.
This article matches our discussion about hiring processes and personnel policies. In this case, the woman that was spied on applied for a management position at Deutsche Telekom’s Croatian subsidiary and obviously, Deutsche Telekom found the sex life of this woman an determining criterion.
We learnt that personnel decisions of a company had to be fair and that its personnel policies should be “based on criteria that are job related, clear and accessible […]” (book, page 421). I’m wondering to what extent the sex life of an applicant is job related. Probably not at all. Sexuell preferences are absolutely irrelevant for a managment position at Deutsche Telekom.
Apart from the fact that the private life of the woman is not job related at all, the spying is also an interference in her privacy and for that reason likewise morally wrong.
Those people should mind their own business!

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Deutsche Telekom accused of spying on board

November 29, 2009 2 comments

Deutsche Telekom accused of spying on board

In his article “Deutsche Telekom accused of spying on board” Roger Boyes writes among other things about the fact that Deutsche Telekom “is accused of trawling through the phone records of some of its directors […]” to find a leak from the board members to business journalists.
I chose this article because it is another good example for organizational influence in private lives of their employees, in this instance how Deutsche Telekom spied and eavesdropped on their employees’ phone calls, in this special case even on the board of directors.
The right of privacy of these employees is absolutely violated. Here, too, they didn’t have the possibility to control information about themselves and to decide freely who should get certain knowledge about them or not. Through being spied on, the employees weren’t able to keep certain feelings and behavior free from monitoring of the observing people.
The feeling of being watched presumably makes the board of directors think that they don’t deserve privacy, or even worse, that they are not trustworthy. Without the right of privacy their occupational daily routine becomes like an open book for the spies. In my opinion this leads to an exrem reduction of the quality of living and working.
I absolutely don’t understand how a company can spy on their board on directors. These people are responsible for the subsistence and continuity of the company, and if Deutsche Telekom doesn’t trust them it should think about what’s going wrong in the company and if it should maybe vote in other persons in the board of directors instead of spying on the existing ones.

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Two More German Chains Caught Spying on Employees

November 8, 2009 1 comment

Two More German Chains Caught Spying on Employees

The article which is published in the magazine “Spiegel” talks about the “Stasi-Like” methods of German supermarket chains like Lidl, Plus and Edeka which spied on their employees, now claiming that they hired the security firm only with the aim of countering theft. 

I chose this article because it fits our discussion of privacy in the workplace and is a good example of how employers obtain information about their employees.
We learned that individuals have a right to privacy, that they should be able to decide which information about themselves they want to be published and which not. These German supermarket chains grossly violate this fundamental right of privacy when spying on employees during cigarette and coffee breaks, let alone spying on the toilet…
When companies try to gather information about their employees, the “Informed Consent” should no be disregarded. That implies that the employee is well-informed of the procedure of information gathering and has decided uncoerced to participate in this privacy-invading procedure.
I strongly assume that in the case of Lidl, Plus and Edeka the employees were not informed about the subject, not to mention their uncoerced agreement to be observed on the toilet.

I realize that companies want to have information about their employees, that they want to know who these people are, but it’s absolutely unacceptable to gather these requested information on the basis of such a conduct.

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Fewer Disney employees whistle while they work

October 31, 2009 1 comment

Fewer Disney employees whistle while they work

This article, written by John Couwels, is another example for corporations downsizing their workforce because of the present economic situation. All  in all  Disney fired 1,900 employees in U.S. based positions, among them people who have worked for Disney for several decades.

This again is a very good example for the rivalry between the narrow and the broader view of corporate responsibility. Customers didn’t spend enough money during their visits in Disney World, wherefore the income of Disney was down in 2008. So the company had to cut down expenses and therefore axed jobs. They seem to focus predominantly on profits rather than to think of their employees.
Especially remarkable for me is the fact that Disney fired people who have been long-time workers for the firm. Maybe it doesn’t make a difference if one fires long-time or short-time workers because somebody is jobless after it in any case, but I think that laying off an employee who has been faithful to the firm and who has done a good job for several decades is morally wrong even if they get a generous severance package.

Also notable is the “self-justification” of Vice President Mike Griffin who says that ”Disney is downsizing just like many other U.S. businesses”, which sounds surprisingly similar to the alleged moral justification “Everybody’s doing it”.

Is it really that easy?

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The long fight against animal testing

October 23, 2009 1 comment

The long fight against animal testing

In his article, Peter Tatchell talks about the sense – or rather said the nonsense – of animal testing. He generates several arguments which clearly point out that animal testing is to no avail. 

I chose this article because I think that it is very close to our class discussion about animal testing and supplies good arguments against it.

One of his first arguments is directly connected to the arguments of philosophers like Jeremy Bentham or Peter Singer. Peter Tatchell hints at the “human-like attributes” that animals have, like language, reasoning, emotions, empathy or the feeling of pain. On the basis of this consideration Utilitarians state that our actions have effects on animals and that these consequences cannot be ignored. So, it is morally necessary to take animal pain and suffering into account. Therefore the imprisonment of feeling ceatures in laboratory cages is absolutely unethical.     

Peter Tatchell claims that the replacement of animals is possible in many spheres of medical research and that there are safe and effective alternatives. Besides it is not always possible to conclude from animal reactions to human reactions so that you would have to “re-discover using people”. 

Not least because of these arguments I also deny stoutly animal testing as animals do have a soul and can’t be seen just as our property. I have always had and still have pets and I know for sure that they do have nearly all the emotions that human beings have.

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Magic Tricks on the Corporate Books

October 22, 2009 1 comment

Magic Tricks on the Corporate Books

The article written by Mara Der Hovanesian talks about the different tricks and techniques corporations use to appear more financially fit then they really are. Mara claims that lots of corporations use these ruses among other things to hide a true financial picture from lenders to avoid losing credit and other lifelines. 

Altough this article isn’t about an ethical issue in a strict sense as it more or less only talks about the techniques itself, I yet think that we can connect the topic with some of our discussions in class.

On the one hand I thought about the exaggeration in advertising which is used to persuade people to buy products. The financial statement could be seen as a kind of advertising with which a firm tries to attract potential investors. In tampering with the balance corporations act dishonestly and unfairly.

On the other hand I thought about the broader view of corporate responsibility which says that firms also have obligations to the surrounding community, the society at large. They therefore do also have a responsibility for potential investors to that should not be lied. 

It is difficult to decide if such a behavior is unethical. It’s logical that firms try to make a good impression as they depend on the money from investors. Otherwise it’s false to take the money of investors who, relying on the published information, think that the firm is a good investment. But as long as such techniques are legal every company will keep making use of them. Maybe the corporations justify their conduct with the well-known claim that “Everybody’s doing it”…

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All Aboard: Can Technology Make Us Responsible?

All Aboard:  Can Technology Make Us Responsible?

In her article, Kathy McManus tells the story of a man using his Blackberry to record the potentially dangerous actions of a bus driver who had his eyes off the road and both hands off the wheel while he tore, folded, and processed tickets and used his cell phone for calling and messaging. After having talked unsuccessfully to the bus company, the passenger posted his video on YouTube, as he wanted the corporation to be responsible. But many readers charged the man to have overreacted and to be anything but responsible. 

Without doubt did the bus driver act irresponsible. It is his absolute duty to transport his passengers with the greatest possible regard and safety, and by using his cell phone and folding tickets he can definetely not meet these requirements. I think that everybody agrees on that. 

The question is if the passenger did the right thing when posting his video on YouTube. He tried to draw attention to that situation as he obviously didn’t feel safe in the bus. But was it his responsibility to tell the bus company how to do their job? Lots of people weren’t of this opinion, but probably that’s one of the biggest problems nowadays: That nobody feels responsible. This passenger tried to act responsible, but the result was that they accused him of overreaction. 

But even if the passenger’s action had been successful, is it really the general idea that a video coerces a bus company to work more responsible? Shouldn’t companies act responsibly spontaneously instead of being forced to do? The Utilitarians would probably say no, but what would Kant say?

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