Workplace Ethics Essay -1600 Words - Essay Prowess

Workplace Ethics Essay -1600 Words


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Workplace Ethics

Today, the education system has undergone substantial modifications, especially in relation to interactions between students and teachers. However, the basic facets of teaching remain largely unchanged. Unfortunately, social developments continue impacting on the profession in unpredictable and radical ways. Teachers are tasked with not only exhibiting desirable performance parameters, but also instilling moral virtue in children (Walter, 2018). Teachers serve as role models to learners; thus, they should have coherent honesty and integrity. When teachers act unprofessionally, they shape students’ behavior negatively since learners will observe the conduct of their tutors. Therefore, personal professionalism demands that educators should endure as social and professional exemplars inside as well as outside the learning environment. The case of Mrs. Pettit illustrates how teachers conduct outside the classroom affect their professional positioning; hence, the need for tutors to uphold integrity always.

Whether the Board Infringed Mrs. Pettit’s Right to Privacy

The case of Mrs. Pettit illustrates numerous issues of ethics and integrity. Mrs. Pettit was dismissed on grounds of decadent sexual act since such behaviors inhibited her capacity to establish an appropriate example for her learners. However, it is apparent that Mrs. Pettit did all the sexual acts in a private home with acquiescing adults, which shows that the board might have infringed on her privacy. Teacher Pettit established herself as a competent and dedicated professional working with learners suffering intellectual disabilities. For the 13 years of service she consistently offered to this age group, the school board never received any complain citing unprofessional conduct during in the discourse of her obligations (Shaw, 2010). On the contrary, it always expressed gratitude for her inputs aimed at improving the children’s future.

The Board of Education was justified to summarily dismiss Pettit and did not in any way intrude on the teacher’s privacy. The police force arrested, fined, and later charged Pettit under the criminal laws of California after being found performing illegal acts in a private club (Shaw, 2010). In this regard, the board did not monitor her activities, but it is undercover police who recognized Mrs. Pettit in a private party (Shaw, 2010). She exposed her private sexual life before a group of persons making it an openly known issue. This was how the undercover law enforcement agent came to uncover her instances of gross misconduct. The Board did not in any way get out of its way to investigate her personal life.

The society expects teachers to instill virtuous character in children during their academic, physical, and emotional development. Pettit displayed that she had some significant flaws relative to her persona (Shaw, 2010). Parents are very concerned of the viewpoints educators’ project onto children concerning morality. According to Shaw (2010), Pettit supported numerous eccentric sexual activities including swapping wives. Pettit could have easily inculcated the views to her students; hence, corrupting their minds. People consider teachers as exemplars not only in the classroom setting and school environment, but also at the community level. Many parents would tutors teach children in line with the strict ethical and moral standpoints up to that time when they are mature enough to make decisions on their own. The school like any other organization should work to offer an ethical environment (Godkin, 2017). In this regard, the board sought to align its decision against Pettit to virtue ethics. Immoral sexual acts in a social setup can significantly erode a person’s moral character. Although the teacher’s professional conduct was proven as exemplary, she held unprincipled character, which she could easily impart on her students. The board feared that after Pettit’s indecent exposure, the community considered her to be an individual inclined to sexual immorality (Shaw, 2010). Many parents would have strongly admonished any attempt for a person identified to have corrupted virtues to purport to instill valued moral principles to children.

The Unprofessional and Immoral Behavior of Mrs. Pettit

One could not have termed Pettit’s behavior as unprofessional since it did not occur at the workplace. Furthermore, Pettit did the sexual acts in the presence of consenting adults (Shaw, 2010). On the contrary, her resume and positive appraisements indicated that she expressed good professional etiquette in the school. Her skills and knowledge in handling children with learning disabilities were exceptional and surpassed set standards as provided by the Board of Education (Shaw, 2010). However, since the board appeared to subscribe to virtue ethics, Pettit’s conduct in the public realm such as in different community settings ultimately implied that it was unprofessional. According to Godkin, absorbing virtue ethics into an entity’s working environment motivates personnel to positive align with prescribed values (2017). This may include eliminating elements that contravene this position. Pettit’s conduct harmed the school’s image as a purveyor of ethical and moral education, especially after it became publicly exposed during the criminal suit.

In accordance with maxims progressed in virtue ethics, Pettit’s display of unbecoming sexual behaviors in a closed public group were immoral. The teacher’s conduct displayed her misgiving relative to sexual conduct (Shaw 2010). Society appreciates certain rules as defining sexual conduct as well as those concerned with the sanctity of marriage (Walter, 2018). Her actions are immoral based on such confines whether Pettit considered them to be harmful or not. She intentionally engaged in immoral conduct that indicated that she was negligent of her role as an exemplar in the school as well as community setting.

Teachers feel dedicated to teaching or indoctrinating those values which they hold as true. The court case involving Pettit publicly displayed her as a sexually immoral professional; thereby, diminishing her previous degree of authority, respect, and subsequently career outlook (Shaw, 2010). Her perception and conducts made her unfit to teach. Interactions in a classroom setting are never solely confined to teaching instruction in accordance with a curriculum (Walter, 2018). In Pettit’s case, the lack of fitness to teach is not in any way associated with identified incapacities to progress pedagogy, but her potential to advance doctrines perpetrating sexual immorality to children. The board dismissed her to safeguard the learners from being continually being attended to by an individual who consents to disgraceful behaviors.

Holding Teachers to a High Moral Standard Outside Classrooms

Teachers should endeavor to become the best role models in the school environments as well as at the community level. Good performance within the classroom implies that students register good scores in accordance to policies set out by the Board of Education. However, this is not the only purpose that an educator should commit to. The society expects teachers to stand out as role models in contemporary pluralistic social settings where all forms of moral and ethical deviances often go unchecked (Walter, 2018). Teachers are quite influential in the lives of every individual student. People often perceive tutors as persons of integrity who exude authority at the classroom level and responsibly act in the best interests of each learner as an individual and in the group setting. It is a universally accepted standpoint that people identified educators as individuals with the capacity to teach moral virtues (Walter, 2018). Having a good character was necessary towards granting them the authority to discipline and teach learners to ascribe by desirable professional conduct, honesty, and fairness in the classroom and outside it.

Behaviors that Show Unprofessional or Immoral Conduct of a Teacher

Immoral conduct and unprofessionalism are enough reasons to compel an oversight authority to dismiss a teacher from a school environment. Professional misconduct includes inadequate performance, insubordination, and neglect of duty (OCGA, 2018). Neglect of duty appertains to an educator’s inability to deliver results as expected under law or contract. Examples include absenteeism as well as the failure to maintain discipline in the classroom setting and school environment. Insubordination appertains to a teacher’s failure to adhere to orders and instructions as provided by an employer (OCGA, 2018). Inadequate performance implies that an educator repeatedly exhibits an inability to comprehend what is expected of them relative to a specific job description. Two instances of immoral conduct include habitual use of alcoholic drinks and conviction of crimes or felonies resulting from moral turpitude. Teachers who engage in criminality or drug-related activities cannot act as good examples for learners. Moral turpitude related misconduct includes kidnapping, robbery, and embezzlement of a client’s finances. Habitual alcohol use means that other teachers, parents, or students can sense alcoholic odor from an educator’s breath (OCGA, 2018). Immoral conduct also appertains to those found consuming alcohol within the school environment and during working hours.


As this paper has provided, virtue ethics form the philosophical basis through which school boards make decisions involving teachers. Teachers should exude professional brilliance inside the classroom as well as at the community level. The society entrusts tutors with instilling moral and ethical norms that hold people together as learners develop into adults. Parents care deeply about the character a person tasked with teaching a child bears. The Board of Education in Pettit’s case dismissed her since she failed to care about her significant role as an exemplar in the community and opting to engage in risky and criminal behaviors. This was an immoral display of conduct at the community that eroded her professional standpoint leading to the Board of Education deeming her unfit to teach. Educators should create virtuous citizens and hold upright views.


Godkin L. (2017) Organizational Learning and Activation of Virtue Ethics in Business. In: Sison A., Beabout G., Ferrero I. (eds) Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. International Handbooks in Business Ethics. Springer, Dordrecht.

OCGA. (2018). The code of ethics for educators. Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Retrieved on 16 February 2018 from

Shaw, W. H. (2010). Business ethics. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

Walter, J. S. (2018). Teacher license revocation and surrender in North Carolina due to sexual misconduct. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 1057083718754315.








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