Review Reading 7.22 (pp.465 – 467), â€œTweeting, Blogging, Chatting, and E-Mailing: Employer Control.â€
Then, develop a research paper that addresses the following:
â€¢Provide a brief synopsis of the facts of the case.
â€¢Determine the important ethical considerations of the case, and then explain why they are important.
â€¢Explain the rights of employees on blogs.
â€¢Explain the companiesâ€™ obligations to them.
â€¢Identify any other ethical issues that are relevant to technology in the workplace.
Support your paper with minimum of three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.
Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages
Reading 7.22: See attached.
Self-regulation, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Business Case: Do they Work in Achieving Workplace Equality
and Safety?: See attached.
Are Ethical Codes of Conduct Toothless Tigers for Dealing with Employment Discrimination?: See attached.
The Critical Thinking Community. (2013). Developing as rational persons: Viewing our development in stages.
Investigate Employee Rights
In this age of technological advancement, companies and employees need to be careful and should measure what they right. Social media such as facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, tweeter, and others such as blogging and email have become most utilized medium of communication (Bathija, 2007). These platforms as well have contributed to conflicts between the rights of employees and their employers. This paper deliberates on various aspects such as ethical considerations, rights of employees on blogs and other ethical issues at the workplace incorporating the case study provided.
The case study is about the impacts of blogging on organizations. The case is about ‘patent trolls’ blog refereeing to businesses that purchase patents and sues large entities to recover for infringement. Companies such as Cisco that have fallen culprits of ‘patent trolls’ lobby for changes of such laws to be protected from the same. However, as the company lobbies for such laws, it is also affected by blogs. Its own in-house patent lawyer Rick Frenkel blogs gets him as well as Cisco Company in lawsuits. In his blog, Frenkel writes that two plaintiff lawyers altered documents dates and allowed inciting blogs on his Troll Tracker blog (Bathija, 2007). The blog read” if you shoot and kill Ray Niro (plaintiff patent lawyer) tonight, I would consider it a justifiable killing” (Bathija, 2007). These blogs gets Frenkel and Cisco sued for defamation. Tracking of the blogs reveled that Korean server hosted them while his address was in Afghanistan (Bathija, 2007). Even though, many companies and employees have blogs, this revelation has prompted companies such as Cisco to enacts new policies requiring bloggers to state or reveal that they are its employees when they are deliberating on issues or opinions that affects the company.
Ethical considerations play a critical role in the operation of an organization as they provide guidance on the conduct and behavior of employees towards other stakeholders. In this case study, important ethical considerations include, employee rights and privacy, the responsibility of the company in ensuring that employees protect private information, responsibility and accountability. These ethical considerations are important because they ensure that individuals take responsibility when they use blogs. Anything that they utter or write in their blogs should be verified and be credible to avoid defamation and lawsuits. It is important for any blogger to remain responsible and be accountable for their action. Frenkel accusations that two lawyers had altered documents were misplaced because he did not have credible information to ascertain that indeed this was true (Bathija, 2007). This is lack of responsibility on his behave. Furthermore, allowing blogs that are threatening and supporting killing of a plaintiff is lack of accountability.
Another ethical consideration is the question on the employee rights and privacy. In this case, the rights of employees to use these social platforms and blogs seem misunderstood. Employees even though have the rights to use these blogs; they have to use the platforms in a positive way. Using blogs to cause harm to another is uncalled for. Furthermore, in this case, the case where Frankel messages are tracked to ascertain his identify raises queries on the privacy of employees in an organization. Another ethical consideration in this case is the responsibility of employers to ensure that employees protect company information. In this case study, an in house layer of Cisco – Frenkel discloses information of the company without the knowledge of the company (Bathija, 2007). This is something that arouses questions pertaining to ethics.
These episodes are important because, they have helped the organization to realize the mistakes or gaps in their entities. An organization such as Cisco was able to realize the gaps and this enabled it to come up with new policies that would ensure that such incidences do not recur in future. The company required that all its employees make a declaration as being employee of the entity whenever they use blogs. Other rafts of measures such as monitoring of employees social media communication and postings using software are essential in addressing this challenges of disclosing private information (Bathija, 2007).
Employees on blogs have rights to express their opinions, agitate for better working conditions and employment terms and conditions (Bathija, 2007). Through personal blogs, employees can express their views provided it does not infringe on anyone rights. The blogs should as well disclose private information of the company. Nowadays, many companies use blogs as well as their employees. This increased utility of blogs has as well contributed to enactment of a number of policies or measures to ensure that employee’ rights have limits for the sake of enhancing company reputation. Some companies have policies that require employees to disclose that indeed they work for that particular company. Other companies use random reviews of the blogs, others use-keystroking software that enables employers to view some of the message never send. Other companies monitor blogs for content to ensure that employees do not disclose or right information that places the companies in negative limelight.
There are a number of legislations enacted to protect the rights of employees. However, some of them do not resolve privacy issues. Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is one of the legislations that deterred accessibility of unauthorized live communications (Bathija, 2007). The law provides some exceptions in situations where there is consensual interception especially when the employees consent to be monitored as part of the terms and condition of their employment
Stored Communication Act abbreviated (SCA) Act as well prohibits unauthorized interception by any individual or an organization of an electronic communications including stored communication (Bathija, 2007). It is however important for employees to ensure that what they communicate does not breach the laws.
According to Scott (2007), there are various laws that limit employers control over what their workers or employees say or write especially when they do so outside working hours. One such law that protects such employees is the national labor relations act (NLRA). Section 7 of this Act allows employee to join or engage in an activity that supports their collective bargaining (Scott, 2007). Therefore, such employees should not be restrained, or coerced or intimidated for what they write on the blogs (Scott, 2007). It is true that indeed blogs present a new context when it comes to striking the balance between employer and employee rights. Employees that blog outside employers’ property and time and those that constructively criticize their employers should not be held liable. Therefore, it is apparent that regardless of the fact that laws or legislations concerning employee rights to blog appears to be blurred, it is true that steps have been underway to ensure that employees that blog without infringing on anyone right is protected (Hart, 2010). The most important thing that bloggers need to adhere to is to remain ethical and observe the policies that their organizations have put in place.
Companies as well have an obligation to protect their employees that have personal blogs. Blogs should not be viewed in a negative perspective but should be viewed in positive perspective as well. Employees nowadays have embraced technology, they use various platforms such as social media, tweeting, email, and blogging as a way of communicating to the outside world through blogs, employees are able to send their messages, complaint about an issue and even agitate for changes (Hart, 2010). Companies have the responsibility of creating a conducive working environment for these employees to enable them perform better. Companies have an obligation of working closely with employees by allowing their participation on the best ways to address the issue of blogging. This will make employees feel part of the organization and they will have a sense of belonging. Companies should therefore, come up with policies that will guide employees when it comes to blogging. Companies should create policies that require employees to disclose their identity as part of the organization (Petersen & Krings, 2009). Employees should also be made aware of the stringent measures that will be leveled upon them for failing to adhere to codes of conduct.
Employees should have a sense of responsibility and must act professionally when communicating or blogging. The information they post should not in any way be in violation of the policies of the organization or disclose private information of the company. Other policies should provide the timing of blogging to ensure that employees have time to concentrate on their duties. These policies will go extra miles in reducing lawsuits and other conflicts between the employer and the employees.
The company must also create a good working environment that promotes autonomy and self-engagement. Employees should be provided with some sort of freedom and autonomy to make good decisions for the organization as well as for themselves. Such working environment promotes creativity, innovation, and responsibility. Such employees will be cautious in their blogs and at all time they will place the goals and objectives of the organization before their own self-interests.
As companies embrace technology, they need to be prepared to deal with ethical issues that come with such developments. There are many ethical issues relevant to technology in the workplace worthy putting to consideration to succeed. One is lack of privacy (Petersen & Krings, 2009). With technology, it has become easy to access and disclose confidential information to the other parties (Petersen & Krings, 2009). This unethical practice has seen many companies such as Cisco incur huge losses because of defamation. Other ethical issues include, lack of accountability and responsibility. People in an organization use these social platforms and blogs to defame and write things that injure the image and the personality of others. Technologies as well have had negative impacts on the economics of entities (Petersen & Krings, 2009). Employees spend many hours blogging and chatting instead of spending this time working.Productivity has been heavily affected because of increased use of technology in the workplace.
In conclusion, it is apparent that new technologies have affected operations at the workplace. Blogs, social media and emails have become major sources of communication in an organizations as well as source of conflicts between employee and employers. It is high time that stakeholders in various sectors developed appropriate measures and policies to strike a balance between employer and employees and their use of social platforms and blogs. Appropriate laws must also be enacted to ensure that technology is not used to destroy but to ensure that organization achieve their objectives. The case study provided, is a clear indication of how, technology can cause harm to others. Nevertheless, with appropriate policies in place, employees can use blogs and other social media to help them achieve their goals and at the same time help achieve the goals of the organization. Adhering to codes of ethics is very critical to ensure that employees remain responsibility when using blogs.
Bathija, S. (2007). Have a profile on MySpace? Better keep it Clean. National law journal, p.10.
Hart, S. (2010). Self-regulation, Corporate Social Responsibility, and the Business Case: Do they Work in Achieving Workplace Equality. Journal of Business Ethics, 92:585–600
Petersen, L., & Krings, F. (2009). Are Ethical Codes of Conduct Toothless Tigers for Dealing with Employment Discrimination?, Journal of Business, 85:501–514.