What to Do About an Unethical Boss

business_ethics_highlights_2What should you do when your boss asks you to do something you think unethical? Sometimes doing the right thing means putting your job at risk. Sometimes, that’s just what you’ve got to do. Other times, it’s not so clear that workplace ethics trumps the need to stay employed. Students of ethics are challenged to read the piece linked below, and flesh out the details. Just how bad does a situation have to be in order for you to be required to sacrifice your own interests? >>>

LINK: What do you do when orders from the boss go against your personal values? (by Chris MacDonald for The Chronicle-Herald)

…In simple cases — where no one is at risk of serious harm, and no one’s rights are being violated — you may be able to get some mileage out of asking questions. “I’m confused. Why are we doing it this way?” or “Sorry, it’s probably just me, but how does this plan fit with the relevant policies?” Such questions may serve as a wakeup call. And that might be all that’s required. Don’t forget, sometimes your boss will have good intentions, but will simply be wearing the same ethical blinders that we all wear sometimes.

In serious cases, if gentle prodding doesn’t work, you may need to take more dramatic action, going over your boss’s head. Many companies these days have hotlines you can call, usually anonymously, to report a serious concern. If the risk to the public, or to fellow employees, is serious, and if no one inside your company is going to take action, then there’s good reason to say you’re ethically obligated to call the newspaper, the relevant regulatory agency, or even, depending on the situation, the police…..

What do you think?

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  1. Pingback: Don’t Blame Capitalism |

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