This Week in PR Ethics (03/02/23): Do Businesses Really Care About Diversity? What Happens When Employers Monitor Your Brain?

Some weighty, fascinating, and depressing ethics stories this week. From continued corporate failure when it comes to diversity, to further erosions of privacy, there are a number of deep and interesting ethics articles.


  • Businesses are not walking the walk when it comes to DEI – This is the most depressing news I have read in a while. Despite many businesses seeming to finally take action when it came to DEI after the murder of George Floyd, it looks like for many it was just a performative action, and failing to live up to the Page Principle of “Prove it with action” According to this NBC report – while DEI roles increased 55%, the attrition rate for DEI roles was 33% at the end of 2022, compared to 21% for non-DEI roles. It also reported that only 3.8% of Chief Diversity officers are Black, compared to 76.1% who are white.


  • Will employers start monitoring your brain? – The decline of privacy and ethics around big data are two topics I discuss regularly.  This article from Harvard Business Review looks a few years down the road as technology will enable employers to monitor employees’ brain activity.  What are the ethical issues around that?  In some cases, there are clear benefits – monitoring brain activity to tell if a driver is becoming sleepy – but what about employers nudging employees back to work when their minds start to wander? It is an article you need to check out and start thinking about (no pun intended).


The ethics of reselling – I had an interview a while ago with Scott Tharler, examining the ethics of reporters reselling review units. This article looks at influencers reselling items they find at thrift stores for a significant markup.  Are they savvy business people or taking items away from those that need them?

Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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