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If you are an employee of a business, and learn that it is

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If you are an employee of a business, and learn that it is violating the law, what would you do in this situation? What are your ethical obligations? Under what conditions would you report the illegal activities? Under what conditions would you keep quiet
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Martin replied 3 years ago.
Hello again :)

The first thing to do is to assess the situation. If it's made by error or by ignorance, you can mention the problem to your immediate superior asking for a follow up on the matter. If it's obviously made willingly, then i would gather as much proof as i can (records, testimony etc..), get advised by a lawyer and report the illegal act under the whistleblower protection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower_protection_in_United_States

The ethical obligations may in some case come in opposition with an employer you may consider gave you big chances in the past, but i consider violating the law voiding any loyalty binding one may have. Same with any non disclosure agreement, those are only valid in a framework where law is respected.

As for keeping quiet, i would if i personally believe the law in question is questionable or if serious death threat is made. I would also keep quiet if i learn of an ongoing investigation with the mandate to find deeper information into the illegal process. National security may also come into play but not every body is called Jack Ryan (a Tom Clancy character) :)

Martin, Engineer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 4201
Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting