Professional Dilemma and Values Conflict

Essay by npr1955 April 2005

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Making consistently ethical decisions is difficult. Most decisions have to be made in the context of economic, professional and social pressures, which can sometimes challenge our ethical goals and conceal or confuse the moral issues.

In addition, making ethical choices is complex because in many situations there are a multitude of competing interests and values. Other times, crucial facts are unknown or ambiguous. Since many actions are likely to benefit some people at the expense of others, the decision maker must prioritize competing moral claims and must be proficient at predicting the likely consequences of various choices. An ethical person often chooses to do more than the law requires and less then the law allows. The ethical person is concerned with what is right to do, not with what she has the right to do.

The ethical issue that I was faced with was a co-worker claiming overtime, when she was not working overtime. Wanda would come to work early and on more than one occasion I would find her surfacing the internet when she was suppose to be working. It was against company policy to work overtime without prior approval. Meryl, our supervisor was aware that Wanda was claiming overtime, but did nothing to stop it. I was face with the decision to ignore it or go to a higher authority.

What Wanda was doing was stealing from the company, because all overtime hours were payable at the end of the year. Wanda was well liked by other co-workers, so I felt that if I turned her in I would cause friction among the other employees. Even though Meryl was aware of what Wanda was doing, I decided to discuss the situation with her anyway. She told me that Wanda had prior of approval to work the overtime.