In the workplace there are many factors that one must take under consideration or act upon. Every workplace has rules, regulations, and policies that but be abided by no matter what position they are with company. Everyone is always expected to be professional. An example would be police officers. Whether they are on or off duty they are always expected to handle themselves professional even if they are not in uniform. Business Ethics is defined in the text as, “the study of what constitutes right and wrong human conduct in a business context” (Shaw, 2014). No matter what company an employee works they must abide by a code of ethics as that is a large aspect of business. If an employee does not abide by the code of ethics it could be very damaging to the company, they work for. Every business wants to hire a trustworthy and qualified applicant and when they believe they have done that and then find out an employee is stealing or committing fraud under their employment it can be very damaging to that company.
Regarding the case of Mrs. Pettit, in my opinion the board of education did violate Mrs. Pettit’s right to privacy. Once Mrs. Pettit’s coworker saw her and then reported her to management then Mrs. Pettit’s employer should have confronted her directly and handled this situation between Mrs. Pettit and the school instead of all the legal matters getting involved. Mrs. Pettit had an important job of teaching special needs children which at times I believe at times requires a teacher to have more patience with special needs kids then with children who aren’t special needs. Mrs. Pettit was an amazing teacher who has received recognition from the school principal and has been employed at the school for 13 years.
With knowing that she has done an amazing job in 13 years you would think that this would have been handled differently than how it was. I know it may sound as if I am contradicting myself but even know I believe her right to privacy was violated I do think Mrs. Pettit’s employer was justified to terminate her employment. Now, as contradictory as this may seem I do believe that Mrs. Pettit’s employer was justified in firing her, even though I thought they did violate her privacy rights. “Most employees don’t have job security: absent a written contract, employment is at will. For the most part, that means you’re free to fire the employee for any reason—or for no reason at all” (Steingold & Schroeder, 2007).
Mrs. Pettit’s termination was justified due to that one of her acts was criminal and is against the California Penal Code. She has the right to what she chooses to believe in and participate in sexual acts with who she chooses in the privacy of her home or somewhere that is private, but it is very unprofessional to do lewd acts in public where anyone can see you. It is especially unprofessional to do those acts when you are an employee of a school, you represent that school, and are a part of the school’s image. What she had been caught doing is not an image the school wants to uphold of their employees.
In my opinion, Mrs. Pettit’s action was unprofessional but not unethical or immoral. Mrs. Pettit and her husband are swingers and they approve of that in their marriage and believe there is nothing wrong with it. Now there are people who don’t believe in swinging, religious people, and people who just don’t understand why couples would want to do that will believe it to be immoral but that is their opinion. The reason I believe it to be unprofessional was because she was caught in the act and since she is a teacher, she did not represent the school in a positive light. This still would make Mrs. Pettit fit to teach because whatever she does in the privacy of her home whether people agree with it or not does not make her a bad teacher. She has been teaching for many years and has had recognition for her good teachings so getting caught in what she was doing would make it difficult to continue teaching at that school since her actions went public and she would have awkward encounters with coworkers, parents, and students since they would know what she had done. Nobody ever wants to work with people that they feel are judging them, giving them looks, or talking about them. Still that Mrs. Pettit is competent to teach because to me she would be unfit if she was caught sexually assaulting or harassing a student.
A teacher should be held to high standard when they have outstanding performances, students adore them, good class averages, and awarded teaching accomplishments. Every teacher in my opinion is held to a professional standard because they are looked up to by the students. This means for me that a teacher should remain professional even outside the classroom because even I have run into a teacher just at the supermarket. Teachers are public figures and the last thing a teacher should want is for any of their students to see or hear them doing something wrong and making that student believe that what they are doing wrong is ok to do. Teachers are not just about teaching students about a certain subject, they are also a positive role model.
While out in public teachers should always be professional. They can have fun, but they need to still be responsible for how they act while having a good time. They are no different than police officers, government officials, soldiers, and firefighters. Students will just see their teacher at the mall or supermarket and that is how she is going to be looked at outside of school. Mrs. Pettit will have the label of teacher no matter where she goes. “Teacher leadership is an important component of student success which requires teachers to be included in the decisions that are made which affect students” (Cosenza, 2015).
Since teachers are leaders, role models, and are always to remain professional then there are certain behaviors that should not be a part of their character. “Most teachers model behavior they expect from their students. The topic of teachers not doing so warrants more investigation to establish direct or indirect effects on student behavior and learning” (Wiest, 1999). A teacher’s behavior should always be positive, and they should show the characteristic of being a good leader. Teachers set the standard for how students should carry themselves which is why they should always show themselves as a good role model. The standard they should set for students is being on time, dressing professional, keeping their classroom organized, desk clean, and their emotions in check always. By doing this they are showing and teaching students how to act in professional environment and how to act and maintain order in their everyday lives. Also, by a teacher keeping their emotions in check they maintain order and calmness in their classroom. If a student sees a teacher angry or sad it can be a distraction and cause confusion for them. Lastly, a teacher should never touch a student inappropriately as this can cause a student to feel uncomfortable, become confused on if what is happening is right or wrong, and can be considered sexual assault.