The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business
Employee Use of Internet At Work: Policy Proposals
Your consulting services have been requested by the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The CEO is concerned about the use of the internet at work and employs your consulting services to discuss her concerns. Primarily, she is concerned that employees might be abusing the internet and is wondering what repercussions the company might face in a variety of legal areas, specifically with respect to the legal environment of business, ethics, and human resources issues. She is also concerned with preventing abuse of the internet at all levels, from low-level employees to the Board of Directors.
She requests a memo from you regarding:
Possible torts that could be committed by employees who use the internet at work
Possible crimes that could be committed by employees who use the internet at work (and indicate whether the crimes are white collar or blue collar)
Liability of the corporation versus liability of the individual employee through commission of torts orcrimes using the internet at work
Whether violations of the duty of care or duty of loyalty could exist through use of social media sites at work
Employee privacy rights or concerns that exist regarding use of the internet at work
Employment laws that protect the employee or the employer with respect to use of the internet at work.
Identify two policies that this CEO could put in place to curb the potential for abuse of the internet at work, with one policy that addresses low-level employees and one policy that is targeted for the board of directors. Keep in mind the business judgment rule with respect to the latter policy and discuss whether it might ever be invoked toenforce or ignore such a policy. Articulate your ideas on how to remedy the issue of corporate malfeasance that occurs through abuse of the internet at work. Proffer some clear recommendations to the CEO about how to improve overall corporate governance by reducing the potential for abuse of the internet at work.
You must also clearly address ethical issues that arise regarding your policies; note that ethical issues might exist on behalf of the employee if your policies are not utilized, but ethical issues might exist on behalf of the employer if the polices are implemented.
The CEO intends to pass along this memo to other employees in the company who might not have a strong understanding of these concepts. Thus, you are also requested to clearly explain and define the legal concepts you raise. She also is concerned about offending employees with policy suggestions and requests you keep this in mind with your suggested policies.
This issue exists in many companies and corporations, so you are encouraged to research outside sources for data supporting policies to reduce abuse of the internet at work. Demonstrate critical thinking by analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting appropriate policies to provide an original perspective to enhance corporate legal and ethical environs as they relate to use of the internet at work.
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