In today’s environment, we face many challenges associated with the crossover between our personal and professional lives. Some professions may be held to a higher standard as organizations seek to control their images through monitoring employees’ personal choices. One might think an individual’s life outside of the work environment is their personal business, and not that of their employer, and in many professions this would be accurate. However, more and more organizations are considering private employee behavior as immoral or unprofessional, leading to loss of a job because of an employee’s behavior in their private life. In this activity, we discuss the organization’s right to question an employee’s behavior in terms of ‘moral example.’ If the employee is considered to be a moral example for others, does that employee lose the right to privacy outside of the workplace?
Read and reflect upon the following:
- Read Case 9.1, Unprofessional Conduct,
- Choose two theories to use to reflect on the situation.
- How does the choice of approach (based on theory) impact the decisions made by the Board of Education related to Pettit’s off-the-job conduct? Put yourself in the Board of Education’s role.
Address the following in your discussion:
- If teachers perform competently in the classroom, should they also be required to be moral exemplars in their private lives?
- Are employees in other occupations expected to provide a moral example – either on or off the job?
- Was Pettit’s behavior “unprofessional”? Was it “immoral”? Did it show a “lack of fitness” to teach? Explain how you understand the terms in quotation marks.
- Under what conditions do employers have a legitimate interest in their employees’ off-the-job conduct?
One of the considerations when participating in course discussions is to keep an open mind and be appreciative of the fact that we don’t all share the same perspective. Ethical issues can many times bring emotions to the surface. Work to take a step back and use this as a learning experience about both yourself and others that you might work with on a daily basis.
Your responses to the discussion questions should relate the assigned readings and viewings to the discussion topic and should not consist only of personal opinion. Your opinion is important to the discussion, but it is also important that you add connections to the material to support your views. Without a foundation in the literature, your opinion has little professional value. For example, “Based on Trevino and Nelson’s stance that cultural relativism creates an environment where unethical behavior is justified through the cultural discourse (year, P#), the discussion should center around……” This type of statement allows you to connect your views to the literature. This is possible even when you are providing personal examples.
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