Ethics, Professionalism and Governance – Case Study 10 – Jobs for You – Employment Agency Analysis an discussion
Jobs For You is an employment agency that specialises in filling short-term, casual labour requirements. The company has recently been involved in several court cases where employees claimed they had been unfairly terminated or treated. Jobs For You used several defences in different cases. In some they said that a short-term labour hire company like theirs could provide no guarantees of work for anyone. In another case they argued that they had offered work to the employee on many occasions and the employee had continually refused because the client site was too far away or the pay was insufficient. In another case they claimed the employee was too drunk to go to work that day. In each case the company produced diary notes of phone calls and interactions with the employees, which they maintain on their database, as evidence.
Word of this spread and some employees became so concerned by what Jobs For You’s files on them may say. They appealed to national privacy legislation to view their own records.
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This caused great concern to Jobs For You’s management, in case the employees might say the company was making false or discriminatory claims. Management has now instructed their HR staff to be very careful in everything they record in the database. They still want to be able to record the truth, as they see it, but are very concerned that the notes may be considered rude, insulting or discriminatory if read by the employees. And so they instruct the Recruitment Manager, Stella, to devise a set of codes to be used in the notes to represent statements such as, ‘never hire this person again’, ‘difficult to work with’, ‘can’t be trusted to turn up on time’ etc, so they would be meaningless to the employees (and lawyers) and couldn’t be used in court against the company.
Stella is concerned over what she considers are the ethical and privacy concerns. Management has told her there are no ethical issues involved and she simply needs to determine a set of codes that allows Jobs For You to record notes about workers without fear of being sued by employees.
How should Stella proceed?