Topic 14 allows for the discussion of confidentiality and how the lack of maintaining confidentiality can be detrimental to organizational success. Building trust with employees is hard work that can be easily destroyed when confidentiality is violated. Inadvertent violations of confidentiality are still violations that are difficult to rectify.
Scenario 1: Mental Health Confidentiality
Terrence had an unexpected death in his family. He has been diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and depression as a result of his inability to cope with his loss. He informed his supervisor Michael of his situation. Instead of Michael informing Terrence of the EAP services of the organization, Michael sent an email to all of Terrence’s peers asking them to be aware that Terrence is suffering from mental illnesses because of his recent loss and to be alert just in case they witness Terrence’s performance declining.
- Was Michael wrong to inform Terrence’s peers about his mental diagnosis? Why?
- What can be done to solve this problem?
- Should Michael be terminated? Why?
Scenario 2: Learning Ability Confidentiality
Carol is responsible for training all of the organization’s employees. She meets with all employees to ensure that the appropriate level of training is available for each employee. Employees share their anxiety and concerns about having to learn new skills to keep their jobs. These conversations are very sensitive to the employees, and they trust Carol to keep their learning confidence levels confidential.
Carol’s administrative assistant, Melissa, has been privy to many of Carol’s conversations with employees. Some of the employees have been made aware that Melissa has indiscreetly shared some of their personal information and comments with other employees. The employees whose information has been shared no longer feel comfortable seeking training from Carol.
- Do you think that Carol can win back the trust of the employees? If so, how? If not, why?
- What should Carol do about Melissa’s violation of employee confidentiality?
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