Ethics in the Workplace

Topics: Ethics, Human resource management, Uniform Code of Military Justice Pages: 5 (1598 words) Published: April 16, 2006


Are Ethics practiced every minute of every day and by everyone? The Oxford English Dictionary (2006) defines ethics as, "Science of morals; the department of study concerned with the principles of human duty." There are two roles of ethical reasoning. One is good and the other is bad. It is for each of us to decide if an action preformed by ourselves or another is good or bad. There are as many different opinions on ethics as there are differences in people. When we are actively involved in the world, be it on the freeway, waiting in line, at work or school, we are constantly faced with challenges. Whether consciously or unconsciously, moments and situations arise that will question our common sense ethics. Depending on your definition of ethics, you will have to decide what you will be able to live with. For it is true, for every action you take, there are consequences. We must be able to live with those consequences. There are no wrong or right answers to an ethical question. Each and every one of us is individuals, with our own opinions and ways of expressing those opinions. We all make ethical decisions every minute of every day. Whether it is at work, home or out with friends we are making ethical decisions. The most common reasoning we use when a question of ethics arises is how it will affect us and others. This reasoning stems from the idea what we do and say has results, good or bad. Some people believe when they "sin" also known as, Theological thinking, they consciously know what they are doing is wrong. Yet others believe if you don't know it's a "sin" it's not. This way of thinking could simply be left to interpretation and not be a solid argument to support a violation of ethics. How would this idea of "sin" apply to ethics in general? A common phrase used by religious and non-religious believers is, "only do unto others, what you would want them to do unto you." Anonymous. This phrase can fall under the definition of, Theoretical awareness. This awareness provides us an understanding of the fact we know by doing something, it will have an impact on someone else. (Brown, 1998) The following are case studies presented by team members in an effort to demonstrate both good and bad ethical decisions in the workplace: The case of the overlooked employee

The Bureau of Prison Standards of Employee Conduct (Program Statement 3420.09) requires that employees "Immediately report to their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or other appropriate authorities, any violation or apparent violation of these standards." Bureau of Prisons employees are required to sign the Standards of Employee Misconduct when they begin employment. In addition, employees sign these standards every time they are updated and also receive annual refresher training on the standards. Retrieved March 16, 2006, from . While working as a secretary in one of the inmate housing units, a Personnel Assistant vacancy was announced in the Human Resources Department. I decided to apply for the position. I completed and submitted the required paperwork before the closing deadline. The impending vacancy was announced through the Merit Promotion System. This meant all qualified applicants could apply for the available position. Immediately after the closing date, rumors began circulating. It was discovered the Human Resource Manager (HRM) allowed another staff member in the Human Resources Department who also applied for the same position, to rate, score and establish what the bureau commonly calls, the Best Qualified (BQ) List. I immediately reported this information to my supervisor (personal communication, June 6, 2004) who advised me to consult with a union representative. Upon requesting an informal meeting with the HRM, I was informed the situation only...

References: Brown, Charlotte R. (1998). Common-sense ethics. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of
Retrieved March 16, 2006, from
Elder, Dr
Foundation Ethical Reasoning, Page 10. Retrieved March 18, 2006 from rEsource, GEN/300
Oxford English Dictionary, (2006)
Powers, Rod (2006)
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