Breach of Ethics in the Workplace – Vice Media Holdings Sexual Harassment

The evolution of the modern day workplace in the past two decades has been the subject of numerous changes that have prompted enterprises to establish particular sets of ethics to protect employees. Nonetheless, there have been occasions during which business owners have failed to uphold their end of the bargain and often resulting in blatant infringement of employee rights. Emily Steel describes one such scenario in her article dubbed “At Vice, Cutting-Edge Media and Allegations of Old-School Sexual Harassment” that appeared in The New York Times. She describes, in great detail, the breach of workplace ethics at Vice Media Holdings where women were sexually harassed on numerous occasions. Her focus is particularly on the founders of this media conglomerate, Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi, who admittedly failed to ensure that those women were accorded a safe media business environment.

It is vital to acknowledge that the information and perspective presented in this particular article is groundbreaking and would, in essence, contribute to a contemporary thinking of business ethics. The modus operandi in a majority of enterprises has been one that singles out perpetrators of these vile acts before proceeding to impose punitive measures. Pundits have often viewed this as a bottom-up approach that continued to prove retrogressive. As Emily Steel points out, sanctions should be imposed on top executives since they took an oath of office requiring them to provide a safe and enabling environment for all their employees (“At Vice, Cutting-Edge Media and Allegations of Old-School Sexual Harassment,” 2018). Moreover, it is noteworthy to concede that the commonly held view of the traditional perpetrator has drastically changed over time. It is now commonplace for younger executives to abuse their positions of authority, therefore creating an unsafe environment for their fellow employees.

Information presented in this article stands out as a textbook example of how pivotal senior officers are in formulating policies that protect employees thus keeping breach of ethics at bay. This information can, therefore, be implemented in my field especially due to the fundamental nature of the implementation phase. Apart from formulating and implementing policies, the empowerment of employees is also an effective way of curbing workplace harassment. Employees need to be fully aware of what exactly constitutes sexual harassment to avoid cases where they suffer in silence and letting the act pass as a typical occurrence (In Buckley, In Halbesleben, In Wheeler, & Baur, 2014, p. 67). Demonizing these acts plays a major role in stamping it out in a society rife with workplace misconduct. Senior executives are better placed to lead by example by upholding ethical business standards and principles while condemning unbecoming behavior in the strongest terms possible. Their dedication towards ensuring that these policies are fully implemented will ultimately lead to cumulative benefits that accrue from the provision of a safe working environment.

This article fits my ethical view since I firmly believe that firms needed to be aware of their liability whenever there is a breach of business ethical standards. It is for this reason that I maintain that all companies provide their employees with a fact sheet to guide them through workplace relations. There are numerous occasions when the quid pro quo approach has been applied by senior management figures in companies. Such individuals demand certain favors from their employees while threatening them with demotion or termination of services in the event that they resist their advances. Additionally, unwelcomed conduct ultimately creates a hostile environment that may lead to the victimization of employees in the low management tiers. Emily Steel’s article, therefore, underscores the vitality of protecting all employees regardless of position and gender while always ensuring that those found culpable are immediately brought to book.

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