The ethics of worker safety nets for corporate change

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (6):459 - 468 (1993)
Corporate change and employee dislocation are inevitable in a free market. However, the current employment relationship in the U.S. that affords a perceived employment safety net is contrary to the natural canon of honesty. Employees cannot be guaranteed employment when a company fails or a product is no longer viable. Attempts to provide costly employment safety nets cause a firm to allocate resources to nonproductive programs that may ultimately cause a loss of competitiveness. These strategies to provide alternate employment may provide only short-term solutions. But even short-term safety nets against unemployment may be sending employees unrealistic messages ... a permanent safety net against unemployment. As a result, employees may lose incentive to be innovative in creating their own personal safety nets. The resolution is candor about the risk of employment. A false employment safety net is not what employees want or need and in the long run it may be detrimental to American competitiveness.
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