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Question: ethical dilemmaandnbspwho is to know the whiff of barbecue drifts...

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ETHICAL DILEMMA

 WHO IS TO KNOW?

The whiff of barbecue drifts temptingly by the small group of drinkers standing near the pool. ‘Smells good,’ comments Brent Campbell, director for Star Consultants. ‘Sure does,’ joins in Emily Simmons, vice-president of culture and performance for Oz Bank. ‘Makes me hungry.’ ‘Before we eat, can I ask your views on using social network sites when hiring someone?’ Zoe Chan, managing director, Sino Property Investments inquires. ‘Tread carefully, very carefully,’ advises Sameer Kaul, industrial relations lawyer. ‘I agree,’ says Brent, ‘you can easily find yourself in breach of the Fair Work Act and the Privacy Act if you harvest data from social networking sites and use it to make a selection decision.’ ‘Brent and Sameer are right — it’s a potential minefield — which is why we don’t do it at the bank,’ says Emily. ‘Oh! Come on Emily, I bet your managers Google an applicant and take a peek at their Facebook or LinkedIn sites — how would you know?’ ‘Whether I know or not doesn’t matter,’ replies Emily. ‘The bank only uses personal information that is job related and collected with the candidate’s permission. Our HR policy is quite clear. We are an ethical employer and proud of it.’ ‘Our company has the same approach,’ adds William Kefalos, CEO for Ajax Supermarkets. ‘We don’t want the risk of legal action or negative publicity — it’s just too costly in time and money.’ ‘This is crazy,’ interjects Peter Coustas, president of Happy Valley Homes. ‘Such politically correct bureaucratic nonsense is okay for big companies — you have the money and the people to deal with it but for small business  people like me making a wrong appointment is deadly. I want to know everything I can about a job applicant. I search everywhere on the internet for information — if it’s in the public domain I use it whether or not it’s job related.’ ‘But Peter, that’s unethical and illegal,’ Emily responds. ‘Maybe, but I’m running a business and it’s my money that goes down the drain — not that of some anonymous shareholder. Managers of large business are all about protecting their backsides; they do what is legally required to keep themselves out of trouble not because it makes business sense,’ retorts Peter. ‘Peter has a point,’ interjects Brent, ‘for small and medium enterprises it makes sense.’ ‘What? To break the law?’ Sameer asks with a hint of anger. ‘The reality is, Sameer who is going to know? In Peter’s case, if he keeps his mouth shut who will know how and what information he has collected?’ Brent questions. ‘Perhaps, but legally Peter has an obligation to inform an applicant that their personal information has been gathered from a social networking site,’ says Sameer. ‘And don’t forget that the applicant has the right to view any personal information collected on them,’ adds Emily. ‘So what! All Peter has to do is keep a file A and a file B — file A is for the candidate to see and file B is for Peter’s eyes only. Again I ask in reality who will know?’ snaps Brent. ‘I can’t agree. I think it’s unethical, illegal and bad HR practice,’ Emily responds crossly. ‘Mmm, it seems, I have stirred up a hornet’s nest,’ says Zoe. ‘Nothing that another glass of red cannot overcome,’ smiles Sameer.

 

 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

2. Is it realistic to expect people involved in selection to ignore applicant information that is freely available on the internet?

 

CHAPTER 7 Employee selection 317
Stone, Raymond J.. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 9E, Wiley, 2016. ProQuest Ebook 

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