Too friendly with subordinate of opposite sex

I work in a company with few women in leadership roles.  One of my colleagues, who is female, joined the firm about a year ago.  She is intelligent and driven and has a desire to advance.  When she first joined, she sought out a meeting with the Vice President in an attempt to gain visibility and better align herself with the company priorities.  As a result, the VP assigned her a few additional projects and recommended her for a training program that could lead to a promotion.

However, the VP has also started texting and calling my colleague, sometimes at night or on weekends. He even suggested that they run a race together in another city.  My co-worker is not married, but her superior is.  She finds the contact to be inappropriate but fears that saying anything, even to him, will limit her opportunities at the company.  She is also concerned that, by initiating a meeting with the VP, she bears some responsibility.

Contributed by anonymous

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Fleeing taxes

The overly aggressive tax system in the US is increasingly driving individuals to abdicate their citizenship. There are Federal, state and local income taxes, Medicare and Social Security taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, and on and on.  Is it ethical for citizens to move to a country where taxes are more reasonable?

Contributed by anonymous

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Gifts to customers

Diwali is a very big festival in India, and it is customary for companies to send gifts/sweets/cards to customers. Typically my company sends the same gifts (with the company logo) to all the customers. However, we were expecting a big order from one the customer, and I had a customer demo coming up. The sales manager asked me to hand over a bottle of scotch to the customer instead of the regular gift. I refused to do so, because I was not comfortable with this.

Contributed by anonymous

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Demand for bribe money

I was working as a U.S. management consultant in a south Asian country with a strong tribal tradition and a relationship-based culture. Decades of social unrest had created an environment where most people were focused on meeting their short-term needs. My team received a new assignment to advise a high-level government official and his support staff (administrators, secretaries and logistical departments). The official met with us and was generally positive about what we would accomplish together. Towards the end of the meeting, he began bringing up several requests, and asked me halfway through if I was “writing this down.”

The requests were:

  • 1,000 light bulbs for his office
  • A digital camera
  • An electric generator for his home
  • Viagra

He then explained that we could begin our work after he received these items.

Contributed by anonymous

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Medicaid vs privately-insured patients

In a for-profit healthcare environment, we are constantly in a balancing act between doing what’s right for our patients and what’s profitable for the company.  This becomes even more of an issue when we start differentiating patients based on insurance plans. Someone on Medicaid [funded by the U.S. government] brings about half as much revenue as a patient with private insurance.  Should we treat both patients the same?  More than half of our patients are on Medicaid.

Contributed by anonymous

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Manufacturing weapons

As an employee of a technology company, I help to build tools that accelerate the pace of engineering and science. Our clients include automobile, aerospace and defense industries.

My biggest ethical dilemma arises when we work with defense companies to build missiles, rocket launchers, warships etc. On one hand, I feel it will help protect innocent civilians from outside threats, but I also know these weapons will be used to kill other innocent people. We have witnessed world wars, the Vietnam war, or the Afghanistan war, and they have only led to nations/families being destroyed as a consequence. I believe no one wins these wars, but they only lead to destruction and distraught populations – and I hate that part of my job that is associated with war.

Contributed by anonymous

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Misuse of e-commerce site

Etsy is an e-commerce retail site where artisans can set up their own boutiques to sell craft goods for a profit. While it is free to set up your own boutique shop on Etsy, the seller must pay $0.20 for each listed item, and Etsy receives 3.5% of the profits for each product sold.

I have a friend who has had an Etsy shop running for some time. At one point she was in touch with the customer through the Etsy message boards and realized that the customer wanted to purchase a large quantity of an item. She quickly realized that it would be much more profitable to bypass Etsy and sell privately to the buyer. By doing so, she circumvented the seller agreement with Etsy and simply used the site as a means of advertising and depriving Etsy of any profit.

Contributed by anonymous

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Coworker is a drunk driver

I had a coworker with a drinking problem. The problem was so severe that he frequently arrived at work already drunk.  On one occasion, he actually got into a car accident in the parking lot. When we went outside to investigate, it was obvious to us that he would be charged with DUI [driving under the influence of alcohol, a serious offense] if we called the police.  However, he had enough problems already, without having to deal with a criminal record.  The accident victim was reluctant to call the police.  Should we?

Contributed by anonymous

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Withdrawing life support

My grandmother suffered an intracranial hemorrhage that left her severely brain damaged and unable to communicate.  With no living will or documentation regarding her medical treatment, we were left with the difficult task of deciding the course of her medical treatment. Breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and several other long-term medical decisions needed to be made without my grandmother being able to explain her wishes. It is a situation that roughly 30% of patients with life-threatening conditions find themselves in.

For months, my grandmother lived on a number of medical machines that kept her alive, lungs breathing and heart pumping. She made no improvement cognitively and remained fully dependent on mechanical ventilation.  With a heavy heart, my grandfather and his children reached the difficult conclusion that she would not wish to be maintained on machines indefinitely.  She was removed from life support and passed away shortly thereafter.  While I agree with the decision they made, not everyone sees it the same way.  Is ending a life willingly ever right?  Or is maintaining a human being indefinitely on life support just as unethical?

Contributed by anonymous

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