Topic: What is the relationship between autonomy and privacy within the workplace? What kinds of personal information do employees have an obligation to reveal to their employers? What kinds of information do the employers have an obligation to reveal to their employees?
Learning Goal: To further your understanding of the ethical challenges that arise within the business workplace by critically analyzing different moral perspectives on the balance between autonomy and transparency in employer-employee relationships.
You should begin by reading Chs. 8 and 9 from the textbook, making sure you familiarize yourself with the main concepts and terminology.
After finished reading, you should use the concepts from Chs. 8 and 9 to write an essay that critically analyzes “Work, Privacy, and Autonomy,” by Richard Lippke (Reading 9.2 in the textbook, pp. 473-479).
More specifically, you should be sure to answer the following questions: (a) What is
Lippke’s main conclusion regarding privacy and autonomy in the workplace? (b) What is the strongest argument Lippke’s offers to support his conclusion? (c) What is best objection against Lippke’s argument? (d1) If you’re convinced by Lippke’s strongest argument, why doesn’t the objection undermine Lippke’s conclusion? How should Lippke respond? or (d2) If you’re unconvinced by Lippke’s strongest argument, what is Lippke’s best response to the objection?
And why do you think the response is unpersuasive?
While you are brainstorming prior to writing the first draft of your essay, it will help if you reflect on the following questions (adapted from the textbook, p. 479), which we will all discuss together during class over the next two weeks:
Lippke maintains that privacy is valuable because of its relation to autonomy and (following Joseph Kupfer) highlights two ways in which privacy contributes to autonomy. Explain the connections between privacy and autonomy. Do you agree that autonomy is the reason privacy is valuable?
Relying on a contractual model of employer-employee relations, some writers like DesJardins and Duska use the concept of job relevance to restrict the information employers may justifiably gather about employees. What are Lippke’s reasons for rejecting this approach? Are you persuaded by his arguments?