Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ethical Quandaries

It's not really a meme, but an article at HRGuru posited 20 ethical situations, and I thought it would make a neat post.

1. You’re at a hotel and conference center. You’ve arrived to your meeting early, and have not have a chance to eat breakfast yet. On your way to your meeting room, you walk by another meeting and there’s a table full of food and beverages outside the room. Your meeting has no food. Would you help yourself?

Nope. I like free food as much as the next guy, but that's just wrong.

2. Your manager congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. Your employee gave you the idea. Do you mention this to the manager?


3. You’ve made a verbal agreement with a supplier. A competitor offers you a deal for 50% less. Do you take it the deal?

I'd go mention the competitor's offer to the original supplier. Might get a better deal.

4. A colleague is out of her office. You notice her paycheck stub on her desk. Do you glance at it?

Okay... This is a tough one. I know in the "real world" that's frowned upon, but in my current job, where I've been for 10 years, everyone makes the same amount except for overtime, and everyone brags about their overtime. So it's no secret here what people are getting paid.  In the "real world" though, I understand that's not the case, so I guess I'd have to say "no, I wouldn't peak."

5. Your manager demands to know what a co-worker is saying behind her back. It’s not flattering. Do you tell her?

Perhaps. But I'd be very dimplomatic about it.

6. You’re reviewing the results of an employee survey and accidentally discover a way to see individual responses and comments. Do you keep reading or report the problem?

Report the problem. I absolutely wouldn't want the results to bias me.

7. You’re traveling in Elbonia on business when you’re invited to a feast by shepherds. You’re given the sheep’s eyeball, the greatest delicacy. To refuse it is the greatest insult. Everyone’s watching. Do you gulp it down?

If I'm ever sent to Elbonia, I'd have to resign and seek alternate employment. I read Dilbert; I know what Elbonia is like!

8. As a joke, a co-worker sends anonymous love letters to another co-worker who takes them seriously. Everyone is enjoying the prank. Do you expose it?

Yes. Probably not in public, but I'd pull the receiving co-worker aside and let that person know the letters are fake.

9. A disgruntled worker is brandishing an automatic weapon. You’re near a door. If you try to warn others you may not escape. Do you save yourself?

Heck yeah I escape! Then I call 9-1-1 and let the pros handle it. Now... if my family were in there, that would be a different situation.

10. After closing a big deal, your manager surprises you with a warm, lingering hug. Do you tell your manager you’re not comfortable with this?

Oh yes... but I'd do it diplomatically.

11. You’re playing tennis with your manager for the first time. You’re winning and your manager is getting angry. Do you let him win?

Heck yeah!! (Plus, I suck at tennis.)

12. You want to quit a job without notice but you need a good reference from your employer. Do you invent a family health emergency?

I'd go talk to my employer and tell them the situation.

13. You decide not to hire someone because he’s wearing a nose ring. When he asks why he didn’t make it, do you give the real reason?

If that's the only reason for firing them... you'd better consult with HR before making that decision and see what they say!

14. You find an expensive pen in an airport lounge. Do you keep it?

I'd set it on a nearby chair or flat surface where the person that lost it could easily retrieve it.  (Expensive pens?  I just don't get that. Free pens from conferences last forever!)

15. A close friend will be interviewed for a job with your employer. He asks you for a list of the questions in advance. Do you supply it?

No, not the questions. But I definitely give some advice.

16. You have a struggling young company. You have to choose between two equal candidates for a job, a man and a woman. The woman will work for $2000 per year less than the man. Do you hire her for that reason?

If they're equal in qualifications and every other reason to hire, I'd think so.

17. You’ve just been promoted to manager at the branch where you work. The person you’re dating has applied for a job there and would be reporting to you. Is this OK?

Absolutely not.

18. The customer wants a refund. You agree that a refund is called for but company policy says “No.” If you go to Corporate, the customer’s refund will be denied. If you act on your own authority, the customer will be satisfied, but you may get in trouble. What would you do?

The customer is (almost) always right. I'd give the refund and ask forgiveness later.  A happy customer is a loyal customer. ROI, bay-bee!

19. The company procedure is very clear but you know a “better” way to do the job. Your productivity results are a bit low this month. If you use your new approach (and violate the “rules”) you can raise your results to an acceptable level. What would you do?

I've never had to deal with "productivity", or meeting quotas, so I'm not really sure. 

20. You are working to correct a mistake that your manager doesn’t know about. If you tell your manager, you will be blamed for the mistake. If you don’t tell your manager, you’ll miss your deadline. Do you tell?

I'd probably miss the deadline and explain why.

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