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The question of whether P & G has been justified in its investigation of involving the leaking of information to media is a matter that touches ethics and the law. Rightly, it is important for any business organization to protect sensitive and confidential information or data from those who may use it against the company. It is no doubt that handling such issues, organizations would seek ways to prevent such incidences from occurring in the future by finding out the points of weakness in their performances which could promote recurrence. Still, according to its policies, the organization may want to impose a punitive measure against the employees, who contravene the company’s policies. However, when the company seeks to protect its image after having committed ethical misconduct that case is unlawful and ethically unacceptable.
Though stipulations on the privacy of employees differ from one state to another, the employees in the private sector generally have fewer rights than their counterparts in the public sector. The First Amendment of free speech of the American Constitution and the Fourth Amendment are majorly applicable against unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. To a large extent, employees stop benefitting from privacy rights when they leave the workplace. Some states provide the constitutional right to the employees in the private sector too. There are limits as to the type and amount of information about its employees that an organization may collect. Such information includes some facts regarding lifestyle, affiliations, sexual preferences, drugs and so on (Conlon, 1997).
Here, the issue at stake is the physical and psychic privacy of employees and the respect for their freedom and autonomy. This, by extension, means that if an organization wishes to be able to obtain certain information about particular employees then the justification of such a pursuit lies on the company. However, when the performance of such an individual is affected profoundly, then the organization may rationally be able to carry an investigation into such behavior (Reference for business).
However, it is a breach of the generous provision of the law, if an organization investigates the telephone conversations of an employee related to another company since monitoring is allowed only among the employees of their own company. Therefore, the fact that the company went ahead to track the calls made by the journalist was unwarranted.
Many employees may have their phone calls regulated without prior warning. However, federal law, which dictates regulation between different states, does not provide monitoring of business-related calls without information or warning. However, for personal calls, the consciousness of federal law would dictate that when it is found out that a call is personal, the monitoring process should be stopped. This also applies to when a call history is being tracked, like in the present case. When the employees are warned to avoid personal calls from particular business numbers or phones, the employee, in that case, would bear responsibility in case calls from such numbers are monitored or tracked (Boatright, 2009 ).
The tracking of the phone calls from the Cincinnati area residents was a gross violation of the rights of the residents. Third-party individuals who are not employees of the company are not to be obliged to provide or give permission to access records of their telephone conversations. In my view, if I did not have any association with a company that attempted to access a record of my telephone conversations, I would consider it a breach of my rights and freedom.
Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the conduct of business (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.