Top Five Ethical Issues in Human Resources

Topics: Privacy, Ethics, Illegal immigration Pages: 14 (5053 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Human resources managers face subjective, complex and elaborate roles. Studies and research completed and evaluated demonstrated that HR professionals continuously faced with high and demanding ethical codes upkeep. Ethical issues reveal essential questions about fairness, justice, truthfulness, and social responsibility. Policies linking to legal matters, confidentiality, loyalty, integrity and competency challenge the human resources managers to foresee issues arising. In defining ethics, “Will Durant's (1961) definition of ethics states that it is the study of ideal conduct. Durant's definition has meaning because it teaches that ethics has 2 elements: 1. Knowledge of ethics is not something people are born with; it is acquired by study. 2. Ethics is not common behavior, it is the ideal conduct people hope to find in the best of people” (Christensen, 1995). Christenson furthermore explained that “Durant's definition of ethics as the study of ideal conduct has meaning because it teaches that ethics has two elements. First, knowledge of ethics is not something with which we are born; it is acquired by study. Second, ethics is not common behavior; it is the ideal conduct we hope to find in the best of us” (Christensen, 1995).

Ethical issues are complex and they are both a corporate and societal issues. Business ethical violations happen because people cross a thin line of ethical ignorance, they self-serve their interests, and/or companies do not have a solid value-based culture starting from the top to the bottom. When this happens, managers usually get involved with issues such as sexual harassment toleration, knowingly hiring immigrants, violation of privacy, biased performance reviews, wage and hour violations, terminating whistle-blowers, age discrimination, nepotism or favoritism and retaliation (Moser, 1988).

There are numerous ethical issues within Human Resources, but the paper calls for the top five based on the author’s reasoning. After doing some research, the author’s top five ethical issues in Human Resources are: 1) Retaliation; 2) Age discrimination; 3) Nepotism and/or favoritism; 4) Violation of privacy; and 5) Hiring illegal immigrants. Retaliation

By definition, retaliation “is the limitation or denial of employment opportunity as a means of discouraging or punishing people who seek to obtain their rights under antidiscrimination laws or to assist others in doing so” (Walsh, 2010, p. 681). Retaliation claims has been on the rise since 2006. The total number of charge filings with the EEOC increased to 82,792 in 2007 from 75, 768 in 2006 (Calsavina, Calsavina & Calsavina, 2009, p. 29). By EEOC regulations, “retaliation occurs when an employer, employment agency, or labor organization takes an adverse action against a covered individual because he or she engaged in a protected activity” (Calvasina, Calsavina, & Calsavina, 2009, p. 30). Adverse action is an action taken to try to keep someone from opposing a discriminatory practice such as: termination, refusal to hire, denial of promotion, threats, unjustified negative evaluations, unjustified negative reference, and/or increased surveillance.

The author thinks that of all of the ethical issues in HR, retaliation ranks the first because if there is no democracy in the organization or a way to correct any wrongdoing, then the employees will always be the victims of unethical issues at work. In addition, if HR does not listen and take measures to correct the complaints of its workers, the company will be liable to numerous lawsuits, demoralize its workers, will have a bad reputation and eventually lose its customers. If the organization self-correct their wrongdoings, the employees have no need to notify outsiders about the problems, saving the firm’s reputation and sparing legal costs to the firm. When employees are heard at work, they become more committed and satisfied. It is important to: 1) Identify steps that...
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