ethical issue at work...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by theprizefight, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. theprizefight macrumors member

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    Oct 29, 2006
    #1
    I'll be very vague with this post so as to keep total anonymity.

    To make a long story short, my boss seemed to be engaging in some shady behavior, seemingly breaking a noncompete agreement (which all employees sign upon joining the firm)..I wasnt sure if I was just seeing things very wrong, but upon talking to other employees, most of my suspicions were pretty much confirmed..

    now as far as how much this has actually hurt the company--probably not that much. But I think its been going on for at least a couple years and its definitely wrong and against policy (and the law, breaking a noncompete is a breach of contract as far as I know?). So today I finally told someone (very high up in the firm) everything that I knew regarding the issue and they seemed very concerned and were going to launch an investigation (completely protecting my anonymity) but they were happy I spoke up.

    So now I feel kind of weird..glad that I got it off my chest but kind of sorry for my boss..he/she is a decent person, definitely not bad to work with and not a bad boss either. So honestly Id feel pretty bad if they got fired (which there seems to be a good possibility of at this point)...they make damn good money at the firm and if they get fired, probably wont even have a good shot at finding another job because theyd have no reference....

    Guess theres not a real point to this post, just looking for some peoples input...did I do the right thing?
     
  2. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #2
    Only you can decide this, because you must live with your decision.

    Without details, understandably with which you cannot provide, it will be hard for anybody to take a close look at your situation and really make an informed evaluation which is what you are looking for in this case.

    However, in concept based upon the information that you provided, it seems that you may have done the right thing.

    Again, it really doesn't matter what any of us say, it is your decision and you must live with it.
     
  3. Clarus9 macrumors newbie

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    California
    #3
    Yeah I definitely think you did the right thing with that. It's hard to do I'm sure, but you seemed to take care of it with the right person.
    I've had a similar experience and it ended up working out pretty ok in the end.
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    +1 to Sushi's post

    We don't really have all of the info
    Doing the "right thing" will always have some subjectivity to it

    You have to follow your heart and live with yourself on this

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. ivtecDOu macrumors 6502

    ivtecDOu

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    #5
    By law you did the right thing, but from another standpoint you possible lost him his house and food for his family.



    edit: if i were you i would have talked to your boss about it.

    More info on his activity would be appreciated.
     
  6. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #6
    Did "he" lose him the house and food for his family or did the individual do it to themselves? Placing the blame on the whistleblower is deflecting the guilt from the one who committed the acts that caused the problem in the first place.

    Holding someone accountable for their actions is not blameworthy.

    He brought it on himself.

    But again, we do not have enough information.

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  7. ivtecDOu macrumors 6502

    ivtecDOu

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    #7
    the lack of information doesn't help at all but there might of been another way to go about handling the situation. If there wasn't any other way then its that persons responsibility to live with there actions and accept that they screwed up and put themselves in the predicament that they are in now, and you are 100% right that they put that on themselves
     
  8. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #8
    I'm sure there were a lot of different ways, which is why I said originally that the OP has to follow his heart and live with the choice.

    I agree with you, all options should be explored. I am always for redeeming someone in situations like this than burning them.

    You never lose by being gracious... you may not win, but you can never lose

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  9. mikeyredk macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Check if your company has a ethics hotline and ask them
     
  10. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #10
    Good point, and that would have been one of those "other options"
    Many companies do

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  11. theprizefight thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 29, 2006
    #11
    ill give a little more info......

    we are a service firm, call us Firm A. Boss has been maintaining his/her own side business to some extent (call it Firm B), which provides the same or similar services to what our firm does, on a smaller scale. Boss asks Firm A employees to help provide services to Firm B clients on Firm A's time. Boss is deceiptful as to who actually Firm A employees are working for (may try to imply that they are Firm A clients).

    edit: I want to stress that other employees have expressed concern about these practices, but no one ever mentioned anything to anyone. And we do have some hard evidence as to who exactly our employee(s) provided services to (and how much time was spent on those services), who are definitely not our clients..and we have proof that they are in fact Firm B clients.
     
  12. ivtecDOu macrumors 6502

    ivtecDOu

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    #12
    so he does side work:rolleyes: used to do that all the time to make some extra cash, no big deal as long as hes off the clock.
     
  13. theprizefight thread starter macrumors member

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    #13

    That was part of the problem. Boss was not off the clock..was using company time, resources and employees.
     
  14. diabolic macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Does that include using the company employees to help his side business? I don't think so. The OP did the right thing.
     
  15. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #15
    not if he signed a non-compete agreement

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  16. ivtecDOu macrumors 6502

    ivtecDOu

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    #16
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5A347 Safari/525.20)

    yea my work was different doing plumbing on the side with the help of my co-workers is very common in our field.
     
  17. furious macrumors 65816

    furious

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    #17
    Why did you not talk to your boss before going behind his back?
     
  18. theprizefight thread starter macrumors member

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    #18
    I dont know..I kind of regret not doing that. But I just felt that it wouldnt really accomplish much talking to them..

    I feel like theyd just try to downplay it, say some things, maybe some explanations that may not be completely accurate. Because what are my options after that?

    If I talk to my boss, and I get more suspicious about the whole thing, and then say something about it to HR or whomever, my boss is going to probably suspect that it was me that spoke up in the event that something comes out of it. The alternative to that is I dont say anything after we talk, which wouldnt solve anything in the event that it is a problem for the company.

    Very torn right now..
     
  19. AppleMatt macrumors 68000

    AppleMatt

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    #19
    Personally, I think there's no need to be torn. He knows the risks yet he is happy deceiving people, and stealing (time, personnel and resources). You reap what you sow - he clearly did not respect the company or his employees enough for the position he is in. How would you have felt if he had got greedy, and this had gone so far as your company had to cut back, which cost you your job?

    However, if you want to rationalise it you need to draw an ethical line. You are clearly struggling with your decision, as you feel it may be 'wrong'. So the ethical line you need to draw (which you hopefully did before making the decision) would be 'which is the lesser of two evils?'. In this case, yours was. You negatively affected one person, but that prevented xxx amount of people from being negatively affected.

    It may not feel great now, but he was in the wrong. There's no need to agonise about what else you could have done - when you began working at the company you entered into an agreement with them. Should you have gone down a route that 'felt nicer', you would have ultimately betrayed yourself and your employer. That's why there is whistleblower policies.

    AppleMatt
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #20
    No, you did the right thing. You let the company know and protected yourself as well. You couldn't have done that by talking to your boss first.
     

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