Questions tagged [ethics]

Ethics are the 'unspoken rules' of society. They are what govern how people behave when not bound by law. Questions with this tag should deal with how to handle situations where it is unclear how acceptable a given course of action might be within society (either the society of the workplace, or the world at large).

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895
votes
30answers
492k views

Is it unethical for me to not tell my employer I’ve automated my job?

I currently work on a legacy system for a company. The system is really old - and although I was hired as a programmer, my job is pretty much glorified data entry. To summarise, I get a bunch of ...
272
votes
17answers
32k views

How to be diplomatic in refusing to write code that breaches the privacy of our users

I am a team lead in a company located in Manila, and I am currently writing an app that has a seriously questionable feature request for its Android users -- which is to secretly record its ...
257
votes
8answers
40k views

Provider is “cheating”, but I don't want to disclose how I found out

I am an experienced IT developer who recently switched to IT consulting. My current project involves fighting horrible software performance on a server farm my client has rented. My client recently ...
239
votes
21answers
60k views

Did I overreact to my boss asking me to get him coffee?

In the middle of a meeting with my managers, me (a supervisor) and field staff, the manager stopped the meeting suddenly to request that I refill their cup of coffee. I was stunned and tried to joke ...
228
votes
14answers
34k views

Interviewer privately warned me against taking the job

Two weeks ago I interviewed with a large company. The interview went well and I felt that the company would be a good fit for my needs. Some of the interviewers during the process seemed like they ...
213
votes
10answers
34k views

My employer is forcing its employees to defraud its customers, how should I handle this situation?

Right now I have a really uncomfortable situation and not sure what's the best way to handle it. I am working as a software developer for an outsourcing company based in Eastern Europe. Most of its ...
208
votes
9answers
28k views

Is it okay for me to decline a project on ethical grounds?

I work for a big digital marketing agency as a Web Analyst. One of our clients is a sports betting website. In a recent meeting they asked us to help with a new strategy. It basically involves re-...
182
votes
13answers
38k views

Is it ethical to use knowledge in main job for side gig?

Suppose I have a main job (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) that involves lots of computer programming, and one day I build a recommender system for my company (think of Amazon.com making recommendations)...
180
votes
11answers
19k views

Client wants me to do something explicitly illegal

I work as a freelancer, alongside my regular dayjob, for several different people with all sorts of odd needs for software. One those clients asked me to do something highly illegal. This isn't ...
177
votes
9answers
14k views

How can I increase focus when doing something boring?

I'm a senior software dev at a contractor company. The issue I'm asking about goes as follows: When I program or debug or do something I like, I'm super-fast. I'm fast enough that I do tasks in 50% ...
170
votes
12answers
35k views

Co-worker works way more than he should

I work in a research facility in Germany. I have lots of co-workers that are from other countries, mostly part of some international collaborative research projects. There's one guy from China who's ...
150
votes
9answers
24k views

My employer faked my resume to acquire projects

I joined a company in India two months ago as my first job. I was pulled into my current project within a month. I am comfortable working as a shadow for the project. Recently I - as well as others ...
146
votes
8answers
28k views

Is it ethical to read programming books on the clock?

I have an issue that hasn't ever surfaced as a problem, but it's a question that's been bugging me internally a little bit for the last several years. I've worked at a few different places where they ...
144
votes
9answers
24k views

How can I respond to an employee who objects to working on certain projects on ethical grounds?

My company does services for various clients. We recently were offered a contract to perform these services for a guy in the city who does predictions, tarot, numerology and the like for people. He ...
142
votes
11answers
18k views

Boss wants me to falsify a report. How should I document this unethical demand?

I work in IT, and my manager is trying to get my coworker and me to submit a falsified security scan to a client of ours. Basically, he wants us to submit a security scan modified to exclude ...
134
votes
9answers
25k views

Should I count the hours that I wait for my code to run?

I am working on a project and I'm paid by hours. The majority of my work is computational programming and I need to run not-very-light computational jobs each day multiple times. Quite often the ...
132
votes
20answers
28k views

How to disclose negative information about a candidate when I'd rather not reveal its source?

We are a small start-up and I'm one of the senior members. After a hard work day, I went to a bar, where I met an attractive young nonlocal man. We had a one-night stand. We conducted job interviews ...
132
votes
10answers
28k views

Boss making me feel guilty for leaving the company at the end of my internship

I’m currently a web development intern in a small-sized company. My internship contract ends this Friday. Two months ago a superior told me there would be a possibility for me to be hired permanently ...
129
votes
12answers
24k views

Why do I never get a mention at work?

Over 4 1/2 years ago as a young 20-something man, I started my job as a trainee SQL Developer. I had no qualifications or experience in the field at the time, and the company that hired me did so with ...
127
votes
11answers
27k views

Asked to secretly obtain coworker's knowledge before he gets fired

I was recently told by my manager that one of my coworkers (call him Steve) will be fired in a few weeks, as his last reviews were found unsatisfactory. My manager also told me to "inquire and ...
126
votes
19answers
37k views

Is it unethical to use healthcare paid by your company to cure a life-long health problem?

Background info: I was born with a small defect in my eyes that requires me to wear glasses to be able to do any kind of personal or professional task. I've used glasses since my early childhood. ...
126
votes
17answers
37k views

Laptop turned in to IT support has a document with staff member's name. Is it ethical for the staff member to read it?

I'm one of the two team members who work in IT support at my company. I recently had a laptop turned in for hard drive replacement. While copying the files to the new drive, I noticed a document named ...
125
votes
11answers
27k views

How to react to hostile behavior from a senior developer?

I started working at Dec 2018, currently, there is only me and the senior developer and we sit next to each other. He comes to work really early and leaves early. When I started working I noticed ...
124
votes
10answers
30k views

Placed on work schedule despite approved time-off request. Is it unreasonable to push back on this?

Since March of this year, I've been employed part-time at an amusement park in food service. I'd like to think I'm a good employee: I show up before my shift starts and clock in at the right time I ...
119
votes
16answers
70k views

Should I go to an interview I don't intend to accept the job (if offered)?

In a conversation with a friend, he slipped that he intended to go to an interview for a senior position in software development. I was surprised, since I was under the impression he liked his current ...
118
votes
11answers
30k views

Boss wants me to ignore a software API license

I am a software developer at a European company. My boss wants me to develop some software that consumes an external API and stores the received data in our own database. The policy of the external ...
115
votes
10answers
22k views

Is it ethical for an Employer to use personal (financial) information in negotiating salary?

I live in eastern Europe, and I work for a mid-sized (West European) IT Company, where all salary-related issues are handled directly by the CEO. About six months ago I requested a series of ...
113
votes
8answers
25k views

Is it unethical to not hire somebody because of their body odor?

Recently I encountered a candidate for a job that has a notable problem with body odor. This person is an intern so I've worked with them for a while, and can say for sure that the issue is consistent....
112
votes
8answers
28k views

Should I clock in if computer started updating?

I got in early at work today, with approval from my manager, to get a head start on some tasks. I noticed my computer is acting out and decided to restart it. Instead of just restarting it installed ...
110
votes
14answers
30k views

Is it OK to lie to a customer to protect them from themselves?

I'm a software developer. A part of the application I'm currently working on is distributing big amounts of money to the clients of my customer. In the application the users – employees of my ...
109
votes
16answers
29k views

What are the possible downsides of answering an “anonymous” employee survey truthfully?

We recently got an invite to do a short (handful questions) anonymous survey on employee satisfaction. My first impulse would be to answer with my honest, negative impression of the employer: 'bad ...
108
votes
17answers
26k views

How should I deal with an employee who is stealing from the cash counter?

I own a pharmacy, and I have an employee who has been working for me for the past 5 years. However, he has recently started stealing money from the cash counter. Maybe he thinks that I will not ...
108
votes
15answers
20k views

How to stop co-workers from teasing me because I know Russian?

I work on a team of 8 people for a U.S financial company, and a few weeks ago, a business meeting with some clients overseas was taking place. My manager asked us in an e-mail if anyone can speak and ...
108
votes
5answers
23k views

Is it rude to eat/drink in front of a colleague who is fasting during Ramadan?

I often feel hungry and have snacks at my desk. Today, I realized that Ramadan has begun and my colleague who sits beside me is fasting. So I quietly kept my snacks back. I felt it might seem rude and ...
108
votes
10answers
16k views

(Would be) teammate called me privately to tell me he does not wish to work with me

I've never faced anything of this sort before. I interviewed at this firm for a position, for which I was rejected, but after the interview the manager requested if he could hold on to my resume for ...
106
votes
8answers
41k views

Is it unethical to quit a job soon after receiving my annual bonus?

My current company has announced that the annual reviews will take place in the next 2 weeks. This means in the next 2 weeks, I'll most likely receive a bonus as it happens every year. I have ...
105
votes
12answers
31k views

Co-worker team leader wants to inject his friend's awful software into our development. What should I say to our common boss?

In theory, he is on the same level as me. In practice, he is above me (as de-facto team-leader). I am working in development/devops, with a partial overlap with his projects. We just had a meeting ...
101
votes
10answers
18k views

Is it ethical to write answers to work-relevant Stack Exchange questions on the clock? [closed]

First off, this is intended to be an extension to the question "Is it ethical to read programming books on the clock?". I do realize the irony of asking this on Stack Exchange itself, but hey, I'm not ...
101
votes
12answers
21k views

Company threw a surprise party for the CEO, 3 weeks later management says we have to pay for it, do I have to? [closed]

Title says it all. We were not informed beforehand, not even about the party itself and now, 3 weeks later our manager says we have to pitch in with a little more than 5$. I am not upset because it's ...
99
votes
15answers
24k views

How to return a fake watch “gifted” by a client

I have a wealthy client with whom I had/have a good relationship. After completing a job above and beyond their expectations they said they felt they needed to do something to repay me. I told them ...
96
votes
15answers
39k views

Coworker submitted my code as his own [closed]

A co-worker, Bob, and I have been working on a project that was supposed to be completed together. Due to his lack of time management, he has been stuck on a bug for over a month. Today, Bob merged ...
94
votes
8answers
15k views

Can I refuse to work on projects I find unethical?

I'm a software engineer in a consultancy company. I've worked there for several years and until last November, I worked in the main offices on internal, deep learning-based projects. My company then ...
92
votes
13answers
22k views

How do I convince my employer to match the salary of my new job offer?

I have a new job offer that offers 60% more salary than my current job and the same benefits. I am located in Pakistan and I was headhunted for this offer. But I do not wish to leave my current job—it ...
91
votes
8answers
24k views

Potential client has a problematic employee I can't work with

Background: I'm newly hired in a consulting company (IT), and recently I've met with a client where my employer would like me to go to work. I had an interview and met the team. The problem is that ...
90
votes
10answers
21k views

Possible repercussions from assault between coworkers outside the office [closed]

Recently a coworker (who from now on will be called "A") invited me to A's house to have some drinks and snacks. I asked if I could bring someone with me (coworker "B"), and A said it was okay. In ...
90
votes
8answers
22k views

How do I tell my boss that I'm quitting soon, especially given that a colleague just left this week [duplicate]

I was offered a much better job position at another company and I accepted it. This doesn't imply a problem per se, but my current company is rather small and another worker, who was on the same team ...
89
votes
3answers
11k views

How to let clients know that they are being spied on [closed]

In the past I have found out that clients were being spied on. This happened twice; in both times I told them. And in both times I got burned for it. I have no regrets and I got a clear conscience. ...
88
votes
7answers
17k views

Should I do something unethical/possibly illegal if asked by management?

I work in the information security department of a fairly big transportation company. Recently, my team leader added me and my colleague to a WhatsApp group and told us to gather as much information ...
85
votes
13answers
24k views

What can I do to avoid potential charges for bribery?

I am currently in charge of contracts for my employer. In the recent e-mail to the current holder of the service contract for the company, I casually stated that I wished to have a few Bonsai trees ...
85
votes
5answers
24k views

How to maintain a good relationship with boss after declining work on a project that conflicts with my views/ideology?

Background: I recently graduated from college with a Software/Computer Engineering degree. Right after my degree I started working at a consultant firm (about three months ago). Our firm usually gets ...