My company co-organises lots of events and if the events are of technical nature, we as employees, get promo codes that allow us free entry. One such event is being organised in a couple of weeks. What is different this time is that I put in my notice and I will be leaving the company. My last day is a couple of days before the event. The code was given out recently and I am planning to use it to enter it.

How unethical would that be considered? I am leaving on good terms with everybody. I am taking a month off so I won't be employed yet when the conference takes place.

  • @KillianDS No idea, and I wouldn't even know how to check it. Since we just get the code in email, I assume all the employees are granted free entry and it's up to the company to enforce a rule to limit it to the employees?
    – Emmit
    May 24, 2016 at 7:01
  • 44
    If you wanted to be totally ethical you could ask HR (or whoever gave you the code) if you must return it before you leave the company. If the answer is no, go for it.
    – Brandin
    May 24, 2016 at 7:19
  • 51
    A good rule of thumb is if you've found yourself asking anonymous strangers on the Internet for approval of an action you intend to take that benefits yourself, you're probably on the wrong side of the ethics of it.
    – Kyle Hale
    May 24, 2016 at 14:44
  • 1
    "My last day is a couple of days before the event." So if you worked one more day, and then attended the event (on company time), you would still be an employee. Why not just avoid the questionable situation by working just one more day? Since you mentioned taking a month off, it seems you may be available. If you have PTO (vacation) day saved up, you might not even need to work it.
    – TOOGAM
    May 25, 2016 at 5:30
  • It's amazing that a question caused by me being completely absent-minded and not thinking about the most obvious options is so popular. :-)
    – Emmit
    May 26, 2016 at 7:11

2 Answers 2


The ethical thing to do is ask your company if it's OK to use the code to attend even though you will have finished up there by that time. And then abide by their answer on the matter.

  • 83
    Nobody ever thinks of that angle, now do they? May 24, 2016 at 12:31
  • 25
    @RichardU It's easy to rationalise your way around things when you don't get what you want. But a reputation that people can rely on your rock steady ethics is a big asset in the long haul. Don't waste it on little things.
    – Kilisi
    May 24, 2016 at 13:32
  • 55
    You can get a lot of mileage on your ethics. When I was laid off for one position, I took the high road, sent out a thank-you email, behaved above-board right up through my last day. Five years later, I got a project from the same company. Your reputation is everything. I agree, it's a huge asset. May 24, 2016 at 13:37
  • 4
    so much answers that could be rewritten as "use your common sense"
    – ithil
    May 25, 2016 at 8:57
  • 2
    @ithil common sense, by definition, is defined by usage. Usage is communicated by the people. This site is the medium for that communication. These answers represent common sense.
    – Gusdor
    May 25, 2016 at 14:45

If this was a social event, I think the "ethics" issue would be "well, why not?" So far as you and your former colleagues were concerned, it would be more or less an extension of any "leaving party" that you might (or might not) organize yourself. In the past I've even been invited by a former employer to social events (in the evening) organized for visiting customers whom I had worked with for a long time.

But the OP describes this as "technical" and a "conference". If such an event is not "open to the general public," quite likely you will be hearing some confidential information about the company's future plans, etc. Ethically, I think that's a good reason why you should not be there at all - or at least, you should not be there without having been given formal permission to attend.

  • 2
    I don't see where they say it is not open to the public - my reading is that it is a public dev meetup that the company sponsors, and gets free entry for it's employees.
    – Jac
    May 24, 2016 at 21:04
  • @Jac The OP doesn't say whether or not any member of the public can attend. It's not clear to me what "co-organizes" and "of a technical nature" means here. I think the basic ethical point is the OP is not an employee when the event actually happens - he/she might have accepted a job offer from a direct competitor, who would otherwise be excluded from it. It is possible the OP would not have been given access to the event even if he/she was still an employee, but had given notice of leaving the company.
    – alephzero
    May 24, 2016 at 23:23
  • 9
    I would strongly suggest you avoid using quotation marks around phrases and words that do not appear in the text you are referring to, as it makes it appear that you are quoting the text when you are not. Instead of "don't do this because x must be true!", try saying things like "if the event is likely to present confidential information that you should not have access to, then you shouldn't go" and then your answer isn't filled with speculative assumptions.
    – Jac
    May 24, 2016 at 23:26
  • 11
    Dunno, I'm British.
    – Jac
    May 25, 2016 at 1:15
  • 7
    Unnecessary quotation marks are equally popular (and equally wrong) on both sides of the Atlantic. As for ducks, a lot more water runs off their backs in Britain, but that may be weather-related.
    – user45590
    May 25, 2016 at 12:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .