Monday, April 03, 2006

Ought we to snitch?

Q: My workplace has a "zero tolerance" policy for visits to inappropriate web sites. All employees are supposed to immediate report such behavior to management. Should I go straight to management with such cases?

A: It's a good thing your workplace is sensitive to the damage these immodest websites can do to the worker's own moral fiber, to the offense they can cause to fellow workers, and to the disruption they can cause to performance. However, the policy you describe to fight the phenomenon does not sound like a wise one.

In Jewish law and tradition informing on someone is generally a last resort. The preferred first line of action is to turn directly to the wrongdoer with a gentle reminder. There are two different ethical principles behind this preference.

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