Employment and Fundamental Ethical Principles Analysis Discussion
For grading, I will focus primarily on the analysis and communication that you provide. There is not necessarily a “right answer” that I will be looking for and I will not grade based on that your opinion, as long as it is well-justified and communicated. Instead, I want to be able to follow your own accounting and ethical decision-making clearly and to be able to not just understand what your decision(s) should be, but also why you feel that they are best, considering the impact on ALL the entity’s stakeholders, including yourself. Write as much or as little as you feel necessary to answer each question to the best of your ability. You may use all available resources to complete this case – e.g., lecture slides, notes, your book, and the Accounting Standards Codification.
You graduated in Winter 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from SJSU and immediately began work as an accounting consultant at a large private company that provides accounting consultancy services in addition to accounting software. At the beginning of the year you had a substantial amount of in-person training followed by settling into a more routine schedule of work related to the various tasks in which you specialized during your degree at SJSU. (This is intentionally vague to allow you to customize your answer to be more accounting/CAF/AIS related, depending on your degree, or the degree you assume your group received before starting work). The amount of meetings that you had were surprising, and you found it initially challenging to keep up with the amount of work you had to do while still attending meetings throughout the day.
Then, in mid-March, the world suddenly changed with the onset of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. You were suddenly meeting online with your colleagues using a videoconference platform from a makeshift ‘office’ in a shared room of your apartment. You also had to keep up with your normal tasks, including interacting with clients, reviewing product specifications, and regular meetings with other team members, while also dealing with multiple challenges related to accessing documentation that was stored on servers in the office and having a much less optimal work set-up than you were used to. Initially, the company responded by allowing substantial flexibility in when and how employees worked and even shipped new laptop computers to every employee which had built-in webcams and microphones. The company initially mandated that all employees have their video turned on during client meetings but allowed flexibility for employees meeting with each other.
The company, in May, then mandated that employees have video turned on for all meetings on company time in order to ensure employees were remaining engaged during these meetings. In addition, while the company suddenly required stricter time reporting since employees were working much less traditional work hours due to working from home. While compensation was not changed, since employees were salaried, the hours worked were used to bill to clients and could be used for assessment of employees’ productivity. In July, the company sent out a memo to employees mandating that webcams be turned on whenever employees were using company property and that keyloggers and screenloggers would be used to track use of company property to ensure that it was being used only for work purposes and that employees were working during the periods of time they were reportedly working.
Question: Discuss the ethics of the company’s actions from the start of the coronavirus pandemic through July.