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Ethics

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I left a company a year ago on very good terms. I was contacted recently by an old co-worker who wanted to know about the Christmas bonus, since he is planning on staying on just long enough to get it and then leave. Do I keep quiet about this? My allegiance is with my former managers, and I don't want to be blamed if they find out I knew.
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I just started working for a new company in inside sales. They hired 4 people when I was hired. In a month and a half, not one of us has made a sale. We make 60 to 80 outbound calls a day. The employees who have been working here for a while take the incoming calls, and that is the only way the salespeople are making sales. We are supposed to get these calls too, but we won't get them. People are unfriendly here, and we all feel we should find other jobs. What do you think we should do?
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I am a department manager with 30 employees reporting to me. I have 3 colleagues who manage their departments, and one of them berates and belittles her employees. I have confronted this lady about her ethics on behalf of her staff, and she told me to mind my own business. She already fired one of her employees for speaking out of the "line of command." Should I take this up with upper management?
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I wrote a report for management, and I asked my direct manager to have a look at it before submitting it. I am shocked and angry that he removed my name and put his on it. I did not say anything at the time, since I still have to work for him, but what can I do?
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I just noticed that I am being overpaid by about $50 a week. We are a big company and this is not going to break it. I am wondering if I should say something.
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Through the grapevine, we have learned that one supervisor stands outside of MIS, Customer Service, and Accounting and listens in on employee conversations. He never says anything that indicates what he may have overheard, but some of us are still left feeling spooky. How would you suggest approaching him?
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I went through a long discussion about pay and benefits with my manager, and I thought we reached an agreement. Just as I was at the door and about to leave, he suddenly remembered one little detail that cut my vacation by a week. I did not want to sit down again and start haggling, but now I'm thinking that he did this on purpose. Could that be?
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I work for a large company and split my duties between two separate departments. In going over my paycheck, I am certain that I am being paid more than I am supposed to get. I mentioned this to a few friends, and they told me to forget about it since it's the company's problem, not mine. I'm not sure I agree. What do you think?
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My manager works at another site. When he asked if I wanted his ticket to a seminar he was unable to attend, I said yes. The next day I found out that he led my co-workers at the other site to think that he was not at work due to the seminar. Later, when discussing my merit, he said I deserve an "exceeds expectations," but having missed the deadline for submitting paperwork, he had to give me a "meets expectations." Seeing I was unhappy with this, he cited the seminar ticket as a perk he offered exclusively to me because I am a valued employee. How does this sound to you?
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I work in a dental office and recently our employer brought in someone to refresh the CPR skills of the hourly office staff. This class took 2 1/2 hours, and afterwards our employer said that he wouldn't pay our hourly salaries while we were in the class. Does this seem right?
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I work in a shop as a volunteer. People come in and bother us, staying for hours, waiting to see if someone brings a donation that they want. They try to get it before anyone else can have a chance to look at it, and before it is even checked out and priced. Our manager says, "The buyer is always right." These people have become friendly with the manager, stay as long as they want, and nothing is said. What should we do?
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I worked on a project with one of my co-workers, and I just heard that he has been telling people that he did all the work and I did practically nothing. The truth is that we both worked hard, and I am very disappointed that he is saying this. Should I confront him or is that just lowering myself to his level?
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I just completed my second job interview with a company, and they want me to start working for them immediately. I have been with my present employer for 2 years, and I feel it is only right to give a couple of weeks notice, but I will lose the new job if I do.
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Our boss keeps promoting his girlfriend even though she does less work than the other employees in the department. What's worse, we work in city government, where this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen. What can we do?
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What should we do about managers who go to meetings and do not bring complete information for the employees? The only way we get information is through other people in the company. This seems unethical and unprofessional to us.
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Whenever I talk with my manager, he inevitably brings up my co-workers and tells me things about them that are not my business. He likes to talk about who is struggling and who he just counseled. This puts me in a bad position, but I don't want to tell my manager how to manage. What do you suggest?
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What can be done about a woman supervisor who makes crude remarks to one employee about another? This supervisor is not liked, as she is a total control freak.
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I am in sales and make over $200,000. Last year, the company hired a compliance person, and now the president has him handling leads that come in. He is supposed to find out how they heard about us. About 30% of the leads say they don't know. Some of those leads should be mine, but he told me I have no right to leads that do not mention my name, and he should be paid commissions for getting them. How should I proceed? The president has a negative view of salespeople.
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One of our best hourly employees has been cheating on her timecard. This is a violation of our company policy, and we have terminated employees for this. It would be difficult to replace this person, and since she is a good employee, I would like to give her a warning, but other managers say I should terminate her. Whose side would you take?
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Until recently, I was a sales manager for a technology start-up. I had no idea where to go or how to sell the product. I was not even trained in the basics. I taught myself and made presentations, but I was paid very little. Just before the end of five months with the company, the vice president of sales terminated me for failing to bring in sales. The company has many employees who are dissatisfied and trapped in a heap of unfilled promises. What could be the reason for my boss's irresponsible behavior? Is this typical of how start-ups treat their employees?
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I work for an aerospace company, and my manager is supposed to set goals in January, give a progress review in July, and a final review in the next January. My 2004 appraisal was not completed until January 2005, and the goals and ratings were all made up. My boss wanted me to sign it and backdate it, and he is doing the same thing for this year's appraisal. I explained this to the HR manager, and he told me to find another job. What should I do next?
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I work for a national footwear chain in one of their stores. I am a top salesman, a Jewish male, and my regional manager refers to me with an anti-Semitic term. He also uses racial slurs to describe an African-American woman in our corporate office. I emailed a letter to Human Resources, and they called other witnesses and spoke to the regional manager. He admitted to the slurs, but nothing was done after that. Now I have to work with this manager, and I feel like a fool. What should I do now?
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Most applicants for positions with our company apply online, but we occasionally receive hard copies through the mail. We just received one from a fairly good candidate, and we were surprised to find that he included four movie passes. Is this what applicants are now being advised to do? Should this disqualify him?
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I report to the Chief Operating Officer, and I recently met with a salesperson who is his nephew. I thought the sales presentation was poor, and we do not need his products. I wrote a letter informing him of this. He then contacted his uncle who held a meeting with the three of us, and now his uncle wants me to start using his products. I believe this is a mistake. What should I do?
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I told another manager a piece of confidential information that required his input. I said the information cannot go any further, and he agreed. Later that day, another employee approached me and asked about this very matter. She said she heard about it from someone who is friends with the manager that I originally told. Should I go back to him and express my concern, or should I never tell him anything confidential again?
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A year ago, my manager told me that when a position opened up, I would be promoted. When there was an opening last month, the promotion went to one of my co-workers. I asked my manager about this, and he said he did not remember having offered anything to me. Then he said when the next position opens up, I am in line to get it. Some of my friends told me to get this in writing, but Iím concerned about how my manager might react. What do you think?
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I am 55 years old and having problems finding a job. I believe I am qualified for advertised jobs, but when I submit my resume, I hear nothing. One of my friends suggested I leave earlier jobs off of my resume, and then explain things if I get an interview. What do you think?
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A friend at work and I discussed some problems I was having on a particular assingment. Afterwards, he tood what I said and went to our boss. Without any notification, our boss took the assignment from me and gave it to my friend, and neither one informed me. I heard about the change from another co-worker. I am very upset. What should I do?
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I am the only woman on a four-person educator team. I am a clinical social worker, and I get along well with all of the other team members, except one, the school principal. He tells people not to listen to what I say, he shared information inappropriately, and he provokes the children. I have called him on this behavior, ignored his arrogance, told my supervisor, and hired men because women cannot stand working with him. My boss thinks I am overreacting. What do you think?
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I work in a relatively small business that is now very, very successful. Iíve worked my way from $8.00/hr + Commission (@28,000/yr) to $20.00/hr + Commission & bonuses(@65,000/yr) in 6 years. I know that Iím the highest paid employee, and that Iím satisfied with my pay. I also know Iím an over achiever and Iíve brought the company from 130th in our industry to the top-dealer in 6 years total. I know for a fact Iíve made huge improvements to this business and I have a great relationship with the majority of the other employees. Although, I am not the ďgeneral managerĒ and have yet to receive an actual title - Iím definitely the coordinator and actually manage the dealership. Now the ownerís daughter has decided to come in more often and try to take on the role as general manager. She has no management experience (other then hiring & firing 10 or so employees within this company). She causes extreme amounts of drama with and extremely flirty attitude with employees, customers, and even local delivery men causing more issues than you could ever imagine. She does not come in at normal hours, maybe 3 to 4 days a week and if sheís there maybe 4 hours sheís paid bills and sent me off to run her personal errands. (Today I picked her up a fountain poured coke, and picked up two rings from the local jeweler) She does not have a real business plan, nor a true job description, or standard order of operations for the employees and their job duties. The rules change on a daily basis. She is extremely demanding and does not like to be shown how to do something, even if it is imperative to the business or a prospective new customer. For instance, this week I was delivering a purchased unit to a new customer out of state when she called and informed me that the salesman were all away and that she needed to know how much the two units we just finished up cost were... I told her the retail figures and she wanted to know actual cost so she could intelligently talk to a potential customer about pricing. I informed her that I knew one unit was completely entered in our dealer management system, but the other was not. I also informed her that I did not know the actual dealer cost of this unit, nor the other unit off the top of my head. I informed her that she could easily look at the cost in our system for the one unit that was entered. She said ď Iím not going through that, that takes entirely too long, this is absolutely ridiculous that we do not have the actual dealer cost written down in the units files!Ē ((Yelling)) I had the phone away from my ear and even the owner could hear every word she was yelling. (He looked confused during this) She kept yelling at me, and I expressed that if she wanted to know the actual dealer cost that there was a very easy 30second procedure she would need to do... she just kept yelling... I told her that we could go over everything tomorrow morning, and she kept yelling, I said we can discuss this tomorrow... she paused for a moment and I heard nothing so I hung up the phone. She immediately called the owner (right next to me) and started yelling at him about the situation and he said ďwe can deal with this tomorrow, no big dealĒ. Just from his looks I only assumed that he understood that she only wanted it her way and that she was not going to it the way everyone else does it. That wasnít the case the next morning... The next morning I was called into her office with her and the owner. I was written up for insubordination because I hung up on her. I spoke my peace that I was not to be yelled at like a dog, and that I was not a child and should not be spoken to in any other fashion. She said that she never raised her voice and that I refused to do what she said. I kept my mouth shut... I never refused anything... I looked at the owner hoping he would be a more logical person because he witnessed the confrontation, but he agreed with her and even to the point saying that I was in the wrong and that was uncalled for. I did sign the paper with a very shaky hand.... I have addressed a multitude of other issues that she has caused to the owner, but it's been no help... it is only getting worse now that she is coming around more often. I also keep a very close eye on the bookkeeping and the profits and loss reports. She has started two new credit cards under the businessí name and she and her husband uses them for personal usage. (Vacations, fuel, hotels, food, clothing, home furnishings) Iím taking thousands and thousands of dollars! This has now put a financial burden on the company and it makes it very hard to buy product to resale if the money is gone. I rely on this for a huge part of my income. Iíve put in for other jobs, and Iíve received a few offers, but nothing close to what Iím making now. I would accept a pay cut for happiness, but I canít accept a 50% cut. Recently, weíve had quite a bit of employee turnover at the dealership and weíve lost a bunch of good people. A retired industrial plant operations director decided to try selling for us, and he said it best on his personal goodbye letter left for myself... ďGet out of here, youíll do great, open your own shop! I canít take the drama and abuse, I donít have to work, but I thought I would enjoy this... boy I was wrong - You canít work under someone who operates their business by the ďseagull management methodsĒ ďComes in every now-and-then, squaks a lot, shits on everything, and then just leaves!Ē I need some advice... I have the knowledge, I have the customer base that I know would follow, my other half is very supporting and is always after me to open my own business.... but I donít have the finances... HELP KEN! P.S. please excuse any and all dramatically errors, run-ons, and incomplete sentences... itís nearly 11pm after a 13hr day that has dragged me down...
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