Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ethics vs. Law: discrimination on the basis of political beliefs

Interesting article by the New York Times’s resident ethicist, Randy Cohen (from the 12/6/09 Sunday Magazine) on whether a company can ethically refuse to hire a candidate because of political views:

You may not. If candidates can do the job, bathe regularly and work well with others, you should hire them. As you note, their “politics do not affect their function.” Is it your position that only people who share your politics should be allowed to make a living?

What is unethical is not necessarily unlawful. Whether by state or federal law, Ohio employers cannot discrimination of the basis of race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, or genetic information. This list does not include political beliefs or affiliation – at least for private employers. Yet, just because something is legal does not mean it makes a good HR practice.

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