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Workplace Dating: Utilitarian and Deontological Views Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2022

Currently, more workers are defining themselves by their actions, and for this reason, more are spending a lot of time in the office. This situation, coupled with communication technology like instant messaging, pagers, and cell phones has given rise to workplace romances. Workplace dating is increasingly emerging as an important discussion topic in privacy laws, as courts get involved to determine the limit of employers’ regulation on the private sexual life of employees. Of interest is the utilitarian and deontological morality impact dating policies created by CartoonStock.com for their workplace.

From the utilitarian point of view, as employees work together, relationships develop amongst themselves. Therefore, modern social mores expect these employees to engage in such relations as long as they do not interfere with professional performance. Despite these ideologies, the problem is the power of CartoonStock.com to interfere with the private life of employees in cases of office romance. The right to privacy is increasingly being used by employees to protect their job positions while maintaining their office romances (Wilson & Fennel, 2003). The utilitarian reason given by such employees is their ability to maintain professionalism as they keep their private life away from the office. Additionally, employers are not expected to discriminate or discharge any employee based on office romance that occurs during non-working hours.

This deontological argument considers that it is immoral for employers to get involved in what employees do while out of the office, as it is an infringement on the right of privacy of employees (Gallo, 2008). Of importance are legal powers this line of thought has to fight the right for employees to have office romances. This situation was seen in the landmark case of Lawrence versus Texas (539.558, 2003), in which the Supreme Court judged that employees have a ‘right to be left alone’ (Gallo, 2008). The argument is that this right covers the right for consenting adults to have private sexual relations, as their liberty according to the 14th amendment.

On the other hand, according to deontological ethics, the employer has a legitimate reason for controlling sexual relations in the workplace. This factor is driven by a concern of protecting the workplace from sexual harassment cases. Additionally, the creation of these policies is driven by the need to reduce the potential of conflicts arising, especially when sexual relations occur between a superior and subordinate. Moreover, an employer seeks to maintain a healthy working environment, which is free of frictions that arise from sour workplace relationships (Wilson & Fennel, 2003). By taking into consideration deontological thought, it is evident that the employer is morally right to create policies that prohibit and discourage workplace dating. This is because such policies prevent problems that will interfere with or reduce the productivity of the employee, their working groups, and the organization as a whole. Moreover, the reduction of productivity implies the loss of income for an employee, as they decide to resign, are fired, or experience low turnover. The organization also avoids losses like time wastage, financial loss, and reduced profit margins from low performance. Financial loss for the organization also arises from lawsuits made against it as a result of sexual harassment claims.

In the end, the research has considered utilitarian and deontological thoughts on the right of an employer to infringe on the rights to privacy for employees involved in office dating. By factoring in these ethical considerations, this paper supports the right for employers to enforce anti-dating policies. This is because this reduces the risks of occurrence of sexual harassment cases and creates a healthy working environment. Additionally, policies provide solutions to managing conflicts that arise from sour office relations and hence do not need moral condemnation.

References

Gallo, R.E. (2008). “Employment Law: The Law on Workplace Romances.” Gallo & Associates Study. Web.

Wilson, R.F. and Fennel, A.C. (2003). “Romantic relationships at work: Does privacy trump the dating police?” Chicago Defense Counsel Journal.

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IvyPanda. (2022, May 14). Workplace Dating: Utilitarian and Deontological Views. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dating-privacy-rights/

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IvyPanda. "Workplace Dating: Utilitarian and Deontological Views." May 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dating-privacy-rights/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Workplace Dating: Utilitarian and Deontological Views." May 14, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dating-privacy-rights/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Workplace Dating: Utilitarian and Deontological Views'. 14 May.

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