Chastity in the Workplace

Chris Tweedt
Christopher Newport University
Chris Tweedt
Baylor University
Most businesses are aware of the costs associated with sexual harassment and are concerned about limiting its presence in the workplace. Although the business ethics literature contains work on sexual harassment, it has very little to say on chastity or its value in the workplace, even though unchaste behavior underlies the prevalence of sexual harassment. This article begins this investigation into chastity worth having in the workplace, taking typical company policies as a guide for what kind of chastity is worth having in the workplace in particular. The first question asked in this article is: for what reasons is chastity worth having in the workplace? I consider four answers—harm prevention, respect for employee consent/dissent, respect for others’ dignity, and conflict of interest avoidance—and I examine workplace policies that enforce chaste behavior in search for a unified and underlying reason for these policies. In the process of locating the primary reason for the value of being chaste in the workplace in particular, we will be given tools to develop an account of chastity worth having in the workplace, which I will argue is primarily cognitive, rather than volitional or affective. I conclude that chastity is the disposition not to construe a coworker as a satisfier of one’s sexual interest, and I argue that chastity is valuable in the workplace because it secures coworkers’ ability to have their contributions appropriately valued. The hope is that once the reason and locus of chastity is identified, the professionals who know how to train businesspeople in developing virtues will better be able to focus their attention and efforts.
Keywords chastity  sexual harassment  workplace ethics  harm  consent
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