Term Paper: Ethics of Business Regarding Computer

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] " Because of the employer liability factor and the fact that trade secrets and other things can be transmitted electronically through the use of email companies are moving toward monitoring more often instead of less often. One things that businesses are being advised to do to prevent problems is to notify their employees on a regular basis that they will be monitored online (Cases, 2002). It is a good idea according to some experts to provide a document as part of the hiring process that the employee signs stating he or she is aware and agrees with the company's electronic monitoring policy. This can prevent the employee later alleging he or she had no idea that their online activities were being monitored.

DEBATE

There are some who feel it is unethical for an employer to monitor an employee's online activity. According to those who want it made illegal it is no different that opening postal mail and reading it when it has been addressed to or sent by the employee in question. This argument has not been holding up as long as the court's have been punishing the employers for having the employees who use the system for personal harassment of others. "Chevron settled a case filed by four female employees for U.S.$2.2 million. The employees alleged that sexually harassing e-mails sent through the firm's e-mail system caused a threatening work environment. One of the sexually offensive messages was a "joke" sheet titled " 25 reasons why beer is better than women"(Cases, 2002).

In addition courts have ruled against an employer and fined the business if one of its employees send an attachment containing a virus even if the act was unintentional.

Today employers walk a fine line. They are charged with ensuring that the computers they purchase are never used for anything illegal or immoral or unethical. They also have the responsibility of making sure their trade secrets are not being sent out either accidentally, or on purpose (Free, 2000). Add to this the fact that a virus filled attachment being sent by one of their employees can cause the company to be fined significant amounts of money.

The ethics of monitoring employee online activity is being constantly debated currently. While it would be unethical to invade the privacy of an employee's life outside of the workplace, the careful monitoring of online activities from a business owned computer or during business hours of work is perfectly acceptable. Employees are paid to perform certain duties while at work and that does not generally include spending time online chatting wit friends or surfing the net. The ethics of employer monitored online activity can only be brought to the question if it moves into the off duty hours and activities of the employees.

References

Kelly, Eileen P (2001). Electronic monitoring of employees in the workplace., National Forum, pp 4.

Author not available (2000). TELLING ALL ABOUT INTERNET MONITORING POLICY CAN KEEP YOUR OFFICE LITIGATION-FREE., PR News.

Author not available (2002). DEALING WITH COMPUTER-RELATED DISCIPLINARY CASES., Africa News Service,.

Bronwyn Fryer (1999). Tech/Computers And The Web: E-Mail: Backbone Of The Info Age Or Smoking Gun?., Your Company, pp 73+.

SOURCES

Tech/Computers And The Web: E-Mail: Backbone Of The Info Age Or Smoking Gun?

If e-mail is the backbone of the Information Age, it's also the smoking gun. Consider what happened to the mighty Bill Gates. In 1995, he shot off an e-mail message suggesting that Microsoft buy off archenemy Netscape. "We could even pay them money as part of the deal," he wrote, "buying a piece of them or something." But later on, during the deposition in the federal government's antitrust trial brought by the U.S. Justice Department against Microsoft, Gates contradicted himself, saying he didn't see investing in Netscape "as something that made sense." Because the government had subpoenaed Microsoft's e-mail documents and held Gates' message as an exhibit in the trial, the disclaimer left Gates' lawyers stumbling to shore up their boss' credibility.

Though hitting the SEND button is easy, e-mail can make life difficult. That's because it leaves an electronic trail from computer to computer, making it hard to control or erase. Indeed, e-mail is an evidentiary boomerang that can hurt, especially if it comes back in court.

According to a study conducted for Elron Software by NFO [END OF PREVIEW]

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