Organizations and companies often face difficult ethical and moral issues that affect the overall well-being of the company. Making the right or wrong decision can cause companies to be either successful or failures. Leaders and managers have an obligation to stakeholders, officers, board members, employees, and customers to make the right ethical decisions. Making the wrong decisions can affect not only the lives of the board members but can also adversely affect employees as in the case of identity theft.
Identity theft is a major ethical issue facing companies and organizations worldwide. Employers have access to personal employee information such as social security numbers, credit reports, background screening information, healthcare and insurance information, address and phone numbers. These items are collected by employers to establish employment, however with the number of identity theft cases increasing employers have to take precautions to ensure that employee information will be protected. According to Internet Wire magazine, in 2007, identity theft affected 8.4 million people nationwide, costing each an average loss of $5,720 according to a Javelin Strategy & Research Survey. In most instances the information needed to steal someone’s identity is taken from an employer through either an inside source or from a lack of safeguarding information by the company.
When personal information is released from a company all stakeholders are affected. A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in the well being of a company such as employees, customers, board members, and stockholders. When information is leaked or stole from a company management must implement strategies to prevent this from happening again. In addition, management must also convey to the public and its stakeholders that this was an isolated event and must ensure that this type of event would not happen again.
The costs associated with safeguarding this information maybe costly, however employers must take measures to ensure that personal information is secure. According to the Sacramento Bee, a massive data security breach at the Department of Consumer Affairs last month could cost taxpayers as much as $122,000 and the department may have to spend more than that to provide identity theft protection services to the more than 5,000 employees whose information was compromised (McIntosh, para. 1 & 2). When dealing with government agencies information breaches such as this is not uncommon due to the amount of employees with access to this information. A couple years ago the federal government experienced a personnel information breach which affected a large amount of veterans.
During the Jeb Bush administration, the State of Florida outsourced its personnel functions to Convergys Corporation, a Cincinnati, Ohio based company. With Florida being the fourth most populous state, this was an enormous task that cost...