Discrimination is bad when it's about 'who someone is', never when it's about 'what someone does'. Providing work and support in exchange for money is very much 'what someone does'.
How do you decide if it's okay or not to discriminate against employees when the employer in question is legal? You say it's never bad. How do you know that?
Is it okay for the IRS to discriminate on the basis of one's employer? What about other arms of the government?
What is legal and what is ethical are not necessarily the same thing, hence laws changing to make slavery illegal, etc. Ethical considerations often result in the changing of laws.
Would discrimination against the employees of a legal employer in one's own state (country) ever be unethical?
Of course. Feel free to skip the leading questions and make whatever point you're working towards.
I believe that discriminating against someone on the basis of their legal employment is unethical and you don't, so I'm trying to determine when it's okay and when it's not okay.
What I've learned is that some people (including you) believe that sometimes it's okay to discriminate against people on the basis of their legal employment and sometimes it's not, and that it's up to whether the employment in question goes against your own personal ethical standards.
I'm not condemning this discrimination, only noting that it goes against my own personal ethics. People need jobs to survive, and even Snowden spent more of his life as a bad guy than as a hero. I'm fine with discriminating against work, but not against workers.
If you want to explore the issue in more depth, fine - maybe there are more nuances - but I understand if you're tired of it.
You had the choice of hacking for the good of people or you could join forces with 'The Man' and make a bunch of money. Maybe the choice isn't so binary, but nonetheless the choice is there. I could understand your statement, 'People need jobs to survive', if your profession was bricklayer, or shelf-stacker, but being a no doubt highly qualified individual in a booming field, as Snowden is, does not generally leave you scrambling to pay the rent and buy your groceries.
Present employers? Certainly. A number of business schools do this already in the selection process. If you run a gun school and a student comes to you to tell you he is using your training to rob a bank, it would be unethical to teach him. If you are doing training on hacking and you know the student will use this hacking for unethical and illegal wiretapping, it would be unethical to teach him. Again, it is fine to discriminate on what someone is doing.
Future employers? If the candidate is locked into the path - eg, he will use your training to rob a bank, then it would be unethical to teach him. However, as he has not done it yet, and people can change their minds, it would likely be ethical to teach him while also steering him towards the correct path. Ethical or not would depend on three factors: how likely you are to sway him; how much damage he would cause if you could not; and how easy it would be for him to find the training elsewhere, where he would likely not benefit at all from steering.
Past employers? This one is, unfortunately, much harder. If someone is a murderer and has not gone to jail, should you discriminate? If someone is a murderer and has gone to jail but is not repentant, should you discriminate? If he is repentant, should you discriminate? This one is difficult because it crosses the line of 'who one is' and 'what one does'. I'd say everyone will give different answers here based on a huge number of factors. It likely comes down to repentance and acknowledgment on whether what one does was wrong and believable agreement that it will not be done again.
Of coarse, sometimes we put our own safety above ethics, and people have differing opinions on whether that is right or not. There is no easy answer there.
Really I was just wondering if you have any examples of legal but unethical employers that you believe it's okay for a university to cite to discriminate against an applicant, in your home country. Perhaps the military?
Ding ding ding. Please keep this in mind at all times.
They not only can be, but unfortunately both often are.
Also, this is a bit off-topic, but "ding ding ding" is rather condescending. I believe you think I'm somebody that I'm not.
Regarding federal law, discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and a few other protected classes is illegal. Discrimination on the basis of other factors is generally acceptable, except where they collide with membership in the protected classes. (For example, a hacker conference cannot require that all participants have an uncovered head and demand observant Jews, Sikhs, etc. to take off their religious headgear, since there is no safety need for it.) Employment in a specific company is in general not a protected class.
Some states have additional restrictions on which discriminatory practices are not okay. In California, the Unruh Civil Rights Act says: “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”
Most civil rights protections limit the prohibition to a list of discriminatory classes. The Unruh act is different because, quoting from the courts: “The Act expresses a state and national policy against discrimination on arbitrary grounds. Its provisions were intended as an active measure measure that would create and preserve a nondiscriminatory environment in California business establishments by ‘banishing’ or ‘eradicating’ arbitrary, invidious discrimination by such establishments.”
For example an ACLU lawyer was found to be in violation of the Unruh Act because in a 1980 California public meeting on police surveillance practices, where the police chief was invited but declined to come, one of the police officers attended in civilian clothes, and never announced that he was an officer. The ACLU believed he was an undercover agent, and kicked him out. The officer sued, and the courts found that that was arbitrary discrimination.
In any case, DefCon is in Nevada, which does not have a similar law. I don't know enough about California law to be able to say if this prohibition against Fed participation is arbitrary or not, were it to take place in California.
"In general usage ethical is used to describe standards of behavior between individuals, while moral or immoral can describe any behavior. You can call lying unethical or immoral, for example, because it involves the behavior of one person and how it affects another, but violating dietary prohibitions in a holy text can only be described as immoral."
> Although the words can be considered synonyms, morals are beliefs based on practices or teachings regarding how people conduct themselves in personal relationships and in society, while ethics refers to a set or system of principles, or a philosophy or theory behind them. (Principles, however, is itself is a synonym for morals.) One lives according to one’s morals but adheres to one’s ethics while doing so. Morals are the tools by which one lives, and ethics constitute the manual that codifies them.
which oddly conflicts with yours. This confusion is perhaps why I generally fail to make the distinction.
"Corporations are people, my friend".
If I apply to companies A and B, where A is ethical and B is unethical, but only B offers me a job, which I accept, have I freely chosen my employer? Let's assume these are the only companies available.
It may or may not be a good idea to do so, but the organizers of a private gathering may exclude whom they wish; the nature of ones employer is not an unethical standard for exclusion.