Instructor Leah Westerman
June 9, 2014
What is legal is not always ethical just as what is ethical is not always legal. However, you will find yourself faced with a combination of legal and ethical dilemmas in your personal as well as professional life. When something is legal, it is allowed by law and made effective in a court of law (Merriam Webster, n.d.). It is legal to purchase alcohol for consumption however; the consumption of that alcohol while behind the wheel of a car is illegal. Ethical means being in accordance with the rules and standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession (DictionaryRefrence.com, n.d). The company you work for always has a large supply of ink cartridges that also happen to fit your printer at home however; it is not an ethical decision to take one home with you. We deal with many situations in our daily work lives that are a combination of both ethical and legal dilemmas.
Even though there is policy, business codes, organizational values, and defined company, cultures we continue to see poor business ethics on a daily basis. The damage of these unethical damages can range from a single employee to the business and its stakeholders (Heathfield, n.d.). In my line of work, we are expected to adhere to a strict code of ethics and laws regarding our client’s information and the resources available to us to verify that information. With so many advancements in technology we a privileged to use many resources that make the verification of clients information a easier on us as workers and on them as our clients. Recently a misuse of those resources has cost us the use of the resource, which hinders our job and puts a bigger burden on our clients.
Legal and Ethical Issue
The state of Arkansas works with a host of agencies outside of our business that provides us as workers with a more efficient and effective way of verifying clients information. One of the agencies that the state works with is the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE). This agency oversees all of the child support cases in the state of Arkansas and keeps records of all payments sent and received. Per the agreement between the State of Arkansas and OCSE, we are given rights to view this information for client case verification purposes only. Recently workers throughout the state were found guilty of misusing this system for personal use (spying on ex to see whether he/she was paying child support) or to find out information for their friends and family. Due to the misuse of these workers, OCSE has pulled the use of their resource for our verification purposes. The burden to provide this verification is now placed back on our client. This might not seem like such a bad thing but it is, many of our clients do not have phones so they cannot call for this verification and a lot of them either do not have cars or lack the money needed for gas to get the information from the OCSE office. Our clients have thirty days to provide the information or we deny their case, now they cannot receive food stamps and do not have the money to purchase the food.
The misuse of resources situation can be analyzed under the ethical absolutism and virtue ethics theories. Ethical absolutism is an ethical philosophy with many diverse branches all tied in to the central idea that there are certain universal standards by which to measure morality. Under this theory is it believed that right and wrong concepts stand on their own never changing regardless the reasons for the individual’s actions (Seaquist & Coulter, 2012).Under the ethical absolutism theory misusing the resources is wrong and it will always remain wrong regardless of one’s reasons for misusing the resource. We sign agreements stating that we will not misuse these such resources regardless of the situation. The virtue ethics theory