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Core Issues In Business Ethics

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This comprehensive online archive includes articles on a variety of business ethics topics by business people, professionals, academics and leading experts in the field. It includes several regular features including Ethics At Work,The Jewish Ethicists and Money Matters.

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Snitching on a Fellow Worker

Asher Meir

Q. My boss insists that no one smoke during working hours. He thinks it leads to a poor attitude. I have one coworker who sometimes smokes on his break. Should I tell the boss? A. The usual rule for disclosing someone’s misbehavior is that it may be done only if it is necessary to protect the potential victim of the behavior from a loss, and won’t lead to disproportionate punishment for the perpetrator. So for example if the coworker was stealing from the employer, and ignored warnings to stop, then it would be appropriate to inform the boss. This is learned from the verse, “Don’t go about as a talebearer among your people; don’t stand idly by the blood of your fellow man.” (Leviticus 19:16.) In other words, you shouldn’t gossip gratuitously, but you shouldn’t refrain from disclosure if silence would be standing idly by when someone is suffering a loss.Your boss has a legitimate interest in having workers refrain from smoking, since he believes it affects their performance. He has the more…