Working for unethical employer

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Working for unethical employer

Postby SubtleShift » Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:43 am

I recently found out that the upper management of the company I work for has committed very unethical actions (deception, theft, ...)
I'm having a hard time deciding whether I should leave or not - I'd prefer not to be involved with any company that intentionally breaks the law and breaks the 5 precepts.
My own job there has been comfortable and easy. I haven't been directly affected by any of their wrongdoings, and I'm never asked or expected to do anything unethical.
I've looked at the definition of 'Right Livelihood' but it's not clear to me how to apply it to my own situation as described above.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:12 am

Welcome to the Dharma Wheel.

That is a very hard question to respond to, but I think if I knew that the senior management of of company was dishonest, and it was not something I could confront them with, I would have to resign. But it is a real dilemma, and it is easier said than done - I do understand that. I suppose the other option is to go to the regulatory authorities but that would not be easy, I imagine.

Is there anyone you trust, who is experienced in such matters, who you might be able to discuss the situation with? That might help get some perspective on it.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby lobster » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:02 am

:rules:

Welcome to the Real World.

Morpheus - The Matrix

You could do puja or Dana on behalf of the unethical.
Are you going to leave every country that has a killing institution aka army.
How pure are you? So become more pure . . . in yourself . . .

Good luck, 'Existence sure is suffering', as the Buddha said to the actress . . .

:popcorn:
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby shaunc » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:13 am

This is not an easy question. If you, yourself have done no wrong & assuming you have a family to feed, just stay there, pull a quid for your family & at the same time look for another job.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby greentara » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:19 am

Don't do anything rash. I don't know what city you live in but an enjoyable, easy job can be hard to come across if you suddenly up and leave. Business and sales talk is often bordering on the unethical. In this difficult environment many people tell 'porkies' just to keep their job and survive, that certainly doesn't make it right but its the reality of this modern global economy.
It's up to you to digest what you've seen/heard in the business and act accordingly, without haste.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby kirtu » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:41 pm

Unfortunately virtually all upper management for almost all companies and institutions worldwide behave immorally. This is true even in the more or less moral cultures on our planet (basically the Germanic languages countries - English + New Zealand). The world is run by sociopaths although most have been removed from the very top, public positions in the so-called democratic nations. But they very much run companies. So you cannot become attached to purity for your company. As long as you are not directly involved in immoral actions, that is almost the best we can hope for. Exceptions to this would be immoral actions that result in the deaths of beings although we cannot disentangle ourselves from that either. But if they were committing genocide, then quitting would be necessary.

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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby lobster » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:41 pm

I agree with kirt.
:cry:
it is often the way of things . . . we just have to focus on our integrity and decency . . . Personally I would stay, unless ready positioned for a better situation as others have suggested . . .
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Ramon1920 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:47 am

If you can, anonymously give the information to the people your employer has wronged.
If they are powerful enough, they will take care of it.
Make sure that no one will even suspect, much less find evidence, of your giving the information.

With that said, you only live a short life, don't waste it trying to set the world right when you haven't nirvana.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby shel » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:50 am

lobster wrote:I agree with kirt.
:cry:
it is often the way of things . . . we just have to focus on our integrity and decency . . . Personally I would stay, unless ready positioned for a better situation as others have suggested . . .


And yet, if no one takes a stand...
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby ball-of-string » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:18 am

You describe my employment situation a couple of years ago. I loved my job, and overall I believed the company was "helping people". I accidently discovered evidence of some unethical/ immoral behavior at the administrative level. I assumed/ wanted to believe that the unethical behavior was confined to a few specific events, and it did not effect my work.

Over time I kept accidently learning more details about additional ethics violations, and finding evidence that people were being harmed. I could not prove anything, and to report the events would have equated to career suicide. Even worse, once they started to suspect that I knew something, I had a huge target on my head. They attempted to scapegoat me for the unethical behaviors, and would have decimated my professional reputation if I stayed.

If you already see evidence of wrong-doing, I'd bet my last paycheck that what you know is just the tip of the iceberg.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby SubtleShift » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:46 am

kirtu wrote:Unfortunately virtually all upper management for almost all companies and institutions worldwide behave immorally.
... The world is run by sociopaths although most have been removed from the very top, public positions in the so-called democratic nations. But they very much run companies.

Wow, what an incredible statement! I had no idea this issue was so widespread and pervasive.
So even if I were to switch to a different company I would still end up in a similar situation of working for an "evil" employer.
I guess this explains Google's motto: "Don't Be Evil"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:09 am

Yeah well I don't believe it, actually. I work for a very large US public company in professional services, I don't believe that the directors or executives are corrupt or crooked in any way shape or form. If I believed it, I would leave.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Qing Tian » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:46 am

An relevant distinction may be a) the company I work for is behaving unethically, against b) some people within the company I work for are acting unethically.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:48 pm

shel wrote:
lobster wrote:I agree with kirt.
:cry:
it is often the way of things . . . we just have to focus on our integrity and decency . . . Personally I would stay, unless ready positioned for a better situation as others have suggested . . .


And yet, if no one takes a stand...


That is a serious problem. In the end it comes down to the seriousness of the crimes and the vulnerability of the whistle blower.

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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:54 pm

jeeprs wrote:Yeah well I don't believe it, actually. I work for a very large US public company in professional services, I don't believe that the directors or executives are corrupt or crooked in any way shape or form. If I believed it, I would leave.


It would be extremely rare for a major US company to not behave immorally. The directors and executives may not be corrupt but many or most of them would have to be sociopaths or have sociopaths tendencies (or to indulge in immoral behaviors when necessary) to rise to that position. And this is even before we apply a label of "unethical" to the actions of this organization. All (actually almost all - there was one exception) US institutions and companies I worked for were to some degree unethical, often in their dealings with employees, sometimes also with dealings with customers and often in effects over time in the general society. Sometimes, but not often, these were also illegal.

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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby kirtu » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:02 pm

SubtleShift wrote:
kirtu wrote:Unfortunately virtually all upper management for almost all companies and institutions worldwide behave immorally.
... The world is run by sociopaths although most have been removed from the very top, public positions in the so-called democratic nations. But they very much run companies.

Wow, what an incredible statement! I had no idea this issue was so widespread and pervasive.
So even if I were to switch to a different company I would still end up in a similar situation of working for an "evil" employer.
I guess this explains Google's motto: "Don't Be Evil"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_be_evil


Google nonetheless could be said to have behaved immorally in China. It depends on your POV. I think it is virtually impossible in the US or almost any place in the English speaking world to not encounter unethical behavior in a company or institution. This will also be encountered almost everywhere else, BTW, an d sometimes more openly. De facto slave labor is a reality in our world for example. People with money and power create conventional reality and it's not so far removed from Stalin or Saddam Hussein (the later was just much more open about his dealings because he used direct terror against everyone to keep everyone in check). The Germanic language world has largely recognized these facts and try to keep unethical behavior out of companies and institutions. As a result there is much more societal oversight of these actions than in many other societies. But corporations in Norway, for example, will still try to get away with the letter of the law in other countries, etc.

In some very small companies with moral people you could find exceptions.

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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:28 pm

Kirtu wrote:It would be extremely rare for a major US company to not behave immorally. The directors and executives may not be corrupt but many or most of them would have to be sociopaths or have sociopaths tendencies (or to indulge in immoral behaviors when necessary) to rise to that position.


Do you think that is something about American business in particular? Or about capitalism everywhere? And what's the alternative?
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:20 pm

jeeprs wrote:
Kirtu wrote:It would be extremely rare for a major US company to not behave immorally. The directors and executives may not be corrupt but many or most of them would have to be sociopaths or have sociopaths tendencies (or to indulge in immoral behaviors when necessary) to rise to that position.


Do you think that is something about American business in particular? Or about capitalism everywhere? And what's the alternative?


As I've already said, it's companies and institutions world-wide. It has nothing to do with American business itself or with capitalism. Humans can corrupt any system.

The alternative is something like what the Germanic language countries do (although as I have also said, they are also not immune - they just tend to keep it under better control overall) with essentially public oversight of activities. Norwegian oil cannot long get away with pollution (actually I was trying to look up their involvement in the Gulf Oil spill from three years ago and couldn't get any details). Corporations and institutions are not above the law in Germanic countries or as far as I can tell in New Zealand. This may be a consequence of WW 2 or it may have stated long before. Danish history for example seems to show significant social consciousness starting in the mid-1700's with the beginning of a social democracy of sorts even though they went through periods of extreme poverty.

In English speaking countries basically everyone is a slave (or a serf) and the boat can't be rocked.

The basic solution is a kind of social democracy in which the notion of responsibility is extended throughout society - individuals are responsible for themselves but also for their neighbor and their society. Likewise society and neighbors have responsibility for one another. Corporations and institutions are representatives of society, etc. It just works better. However even Norway and Sweden haven't solved all societal ills.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Dragon » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:27 am

Wow.
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Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:36 am

If your actions or inactions aren't causing harm then it should be fine.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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