Moral Legal and Ethical Issues Faced by Managers

Managers are involved with many functions in the organization. These managerial functions are Controlling, Staffing, Planning, Directing and Organizing. With these functions comes ethical responsibilities since the managers have to come up with clear expectations on how the employee should behave for the overall accountability, decision making and goal reaching in the organization. (Lynn, 2002)

Consequently, organizations are impacted upon by laws and regulations of the area and country in which they are situated. Going against those laws leads to lawsuits and penalties. The linchpin to employee productivity according to a resent survey is employee engagement and ethical behavior. These two aspects are built by the overall organizational culture. (Cummins, 1996)

It is easy to draw a clear cut on the effects that employee engagement has on the overall productivity of a company. Engaged employees often lead to improved productivity of an organization. This is because they are zealous and passionate, they are connected to the company, and they have a self drive, are inventive and are eager to go the extra mile for the company. (Lynn, 2002)

As much as it is easy to show the effects of engagement to overall productivity, employees that are engaged are not necessarily ethical. Being engaged to the company is not evidence or ethical activity and responsibility. Ethical behavior is driven by teamwork, involvement, rewards schemes, honesty, clear line of goals, enthusiasm, among others.


In general managers deal with four main areas in an organization, this areas are employment, performance evaluation, restraint and termination of employment. These four areas influence the ethical issues in an organization because they deal with sincerity, justice and individual decorum. Below are some of the ethical issues that are experienced by managers during their day to day operations;


Diversity means being different and unique in aspects that encompass race, customs, masculinity and femininity, sexuality, age, socio-economic status, physical abilities and inabilities, religion and political beliefs. It is an ethical issue because the manager ought to have the ability to look at these differences in a secure, optimistic, and cultivating environment; being able to endure, embrace and commemorate the affluence in the diverse dimensions. (Cummins, 1996)


The term harassment does not only mean sexual harassment. It is a broad term that encompasses all types of prejudice and behavior considered as irksome, intimidating and distractive. It could be in the form of language, actions, and menace and or negative remarks based on a person’s diversity. (Linda, 2005). Harassment will be discussed below.

Family and Personal Issues

These in general are issues that are personal and do not directly involve the organization but affects it because they influence an individual’s performance. They could be cases of drug


addictions, personal illnesses, family conflicts and any other personal aspects that could affect someone’s individual work. These issues are ethical because the manager ought to cast a balance between individual achievement, absenteeism and obligations to their private life and equality. (Cummins, 1996)


Ethical Issues Related to Harassment

Just as stated above, the term harassment does not only mean sexual harassment. It is a broad term that encompasses all types of prejudice and behavior considered as irksome, intimidating and distractive. It could be in the form of language, actions, and menace and or negative remarks based on a person’s diversity. (Adam, 2001)

Types of Harassment

Harassment can be of different categories not only sexual as most people could assume. However, sexual harassment is the most common type of harassment. Below are the types of harassment; Sexual Harassment; Race, Religion, Sex, and National Origin harassment; Age harassment; Disability Status harassment; Sexual Orientation and Marital Status harassment; Gender Identification harassment; Political Beliefs harassment; Criminal History harassment ; Occupation or Sources of Income harassment; Citizenship harassment; Status Heritage harassment; and Smokers and Nonsmokers harassment. Being the most common, sexual harassment is explained below; (Linda, 2005)

Sexual harassment:


Sexual harassment can be defined as apathetic sexual advances, or language, actions, and menace and or negative remarks that are sexual in nature. Sexual harassment not only involves individuals of different sexes but also those odious behaviors from the same sex. The following are grouped as sexual harassment;

Unwilling sexual advances; job benefits traded for sexual favors; revenge after repudiation of sexual advances; visual conducts that are sexually suggestive; verbal conduct, advances, jokes, and comments that are sexual, including letters, notes and invitations that are obscene in nature; bodily conduct that includes illative touching, assaulting, or any other suggestive body language against someone’s will. (Holliday, 2001)

Example of Harassment dilemma:

Erastus and Company is a Christian-Based organization that often employs individuals who practice the Christian faith. During a recruitment process, they hired Mohammed a Muslim who had exemplary qualities and skills for the specific job position. Being the only Muslim, Mohammed could hang pictures and posters of his god in the office where he worked with other Christian colleagues. It was disturbing to all in the office who kindly requested him to bring it down. Mohammed did not hind to this request and his colleagues decided to inform their supervisor.

The supervisor talked to Mohammed who said that being the only Muslim he feels left out and that is the reason why he had pt up the poster. He was stubborn and he insisted that it was a violation of freedom of Worship and religion for the supervisor to tell him to bring down the poster. The supervisor was faced with a dilemma since he did not want to violate the Civil Rights Act that prohibited religion based harassment but still felt that Mohamed was harassing his colleagues.


As much as diversity should be recognized, imposing individual beliefs on others is unethical, so the supervisor requested him to bring it down which he ignored. His hostility and this kind of behavior will most definitely affect the performance of his colleagues. Mohamed was then issued with a warning letter and he decided to quit.


Cummins, J. (1996) Negotiating Identities: Education for empowerment in a Diverse Society.

Ontario: C.A.B.E

Isbell, Linda M. (2005) Who Says It’s Sexual Harassment? The Effects of Gender and Likelihood to Sexually Harass on Legal Judgments of Sexual Harassment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 35(4)

Malamut, Adam B. (2001) Coping with sexual harassment: Personal, environmental, and cognitive determinants. Journal of Applied Psychology 86(6)

Offermann, Lynn R. (2002) When leaders harass: The impact of target perceptions of organizational leadership and climate on harassment reporting and outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology 87(5)

Wayne, Julie Holliday (2001) Is all sexual harassment viewed the same? Mock juror decisions in same- and cross-gender cases. Journal of Applied Psychology 86(2)