Privacy at work – ethical criteria

Journal of Business Ethics 42 (1):59 - 70 (2003)
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Abstract

New technologies and practices, such as drug testing, genetic testing, and electronic surveillance infringe upon the privacy of workers on workplaces. We argue that employees have a prima facie right to privacy, but this right can be overridden by competing moral principles that follow, explicitly or implicitly, from the contract of employment. We propose a set of criteria for when intrusions into an employee''s privacy are justified. Three types of justification are specified, namely those that refer to the employer''s interests, to the interests of the employee her- or himself, and to the interests of third parties such as customers and fellow workers. For each of these three types, sub-criteria are proposed that can be used to determine whether a particular infringement into an employee''s privacy is morally justified or not.

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Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

References found in this work

On Liberty.John Stuart Mill - 1956 - Cambridge University Press.
The Structure of Values and Norms.Sven Ove Hansson - 2002 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 8 (4):531-533.
Drug Testing in Employment.Joseph DesJardins & Ronald Duska - 1987 - Business and Professional Ethics Journal 6 (3):3-21.
Accountability and Employee Rights.Patricia H. Werhane - 1983 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 1 (3):15-26.
The Ethics of Genetic Screening in the Workplace.Joseph Kupfer - 1993 - Business Ethics Quarterly 3 (1):17-25.

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