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  • #2297028

    Ethical Questions


    by utken ·

    I’m an IT stuff in a small company. We recently implemented a new firewall system that can log users’ web usage. For the past few days my boss has requested a printout of Internet activities from one of my colleagues who happens to be my friend (say Lisa). Apparently someone in the office has been reporting him that Lisa has been to such and such website during working hours. Although none of those sites were of offensive type but they certainly were not work-related. My boss is not very pleased about this issue but has not made any comment yet to Lisa or her manager. To my knowledge, other stuff are also using the web for personal reasons (even to greater extend) but Lisa’s the one who got ‘nailed’. Being an IT stuff, I know it’s my responsible to fulfill my duty – give my boss the log; on the other hand, I also don’t want Lisa to get into trouble for surfing the web for only 5 minutes a day. Unfortunately my boss does not have a written Internet policy that could determine the seriousness of her web usage.
    Should I tell Lisa in private about this issue so that she could stop the activity? But what if she realizes that she is the only one who is being watched?
    Please advise. Thank you.

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    • #2670644

      Follow your heart but use your head

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Ethical Questions

      It’s a tenet of American culture that our loyalties start at the bottom. Self first, then family, then friends, then the community or the company, and the nation dead last. Regardless of how ugly or selfish that may look to people from more upwardly loyal cultures (e.g. Japan), it works for us. You feel in your heart that your loyalty to Lisa is more important than to the company, or you wouldn’t be asking! If you sell out Lisa for job security, it will be one of those little things that will nag you for the rest of your life. Accumulate enough of those nags and you’ll be a miserable old (or middle-aged) person before you know it. But also don’t forget your loyalty to yourself. If you handle this in such a way that you get busted by your boss, then you’ll really be unhappy and you’ll resent Lisa. You need to follow your heart, but you absolutely have to be guided by your brain. Don’t do anything foolish. Handle this as delicately as possible to minimize the chance of hurting yourself. Most American bosses simply assume that their employees’ first loyalty is not to them and they excuse quite a bit of this kind of behavior. But don’t push your luck!

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