Human rights legislation in Australia and New Zealand places restrictions on the information an employer may require from job applicants as a basis for hiring. Some of these restrictions help to maintain the privacy of applicants and protect them from unethical discrimination in the job market. In this paper I argue there is other information that employers may potentially require of job applicants that raises similar privacy and discrimination concerns. This involves information about personal characteristics or private activities that may be statistically linked to higher or lower productivity across employees as a group. This may be sought through methods such as pre-employment drug testing, personality tests or interview questions. I discuss the potential this creates for a disturbing conflict between important liberty and privacy values, raising questions about the nature of employment positions and the trade-off between these ethical values that we may need to consider.
Scholes, V. (2006). Employment ethics: Privacy and hiring decisions. In 13th Annual Conference Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics.