Latest "business ethics" Posts

Online Survey: Don’t Ask Me a Question, If You Don’t Want an Ethical Answer

If you’re ever feeling a little bored while waiting for your number to be called at the Department of Motor Vehicles, you might want to get online and go to one of those rating websites such as Yelp.com. Do an online survey – it’s great fun. Go to a restaurant or carpet cleaning service or chiropractor and look at the reviews. Most of the reviews will tend to be “very good” or “excellent.” Every so often, there is a rating of “poor” or “average,” and invariably, there is an angry response in response to the response!

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged ,

An Unethical Family Dynamic = a $6 million Fraud Against Uncle Sam

There are all kinds of reasons why unethical people commit fraud, but when we boil it all down, they see an opportunity and if there are no checks and balances in place, they will seize that opportunity. The outrageous expenses for defense are legendary. It is one thing to charge for an item fairly but it is quite another when a contractor chooses to defraud.  Fraud is by its very nature unethical.

In Pennsylvania, there is a small company outside of Butler named Ibis Tec LLC. The company makes, among other things, window assembly kits for the Humvee. It may not sound like much, and maybe that’s what the former executives of the company figured, but former owners (and brothers!) Thomas Buckner and John Buckner, along with the company’s former CFO Harry Kramer, put together a scheme to overcharge the government by $6 million.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , ,

CVS Takes an Ethical Approach to Opioids – So What?

In an effort to reduce the deaths, both accidental and intentional caused by opioid addiction, CVS has announced major changes to its filling of prescriptions for those pharmaceuticals.  The drug store chain has announced that it will limit prescriptions to a seven-day supply. There are obvious restrictions. The “limit” applies to patients who are new to pain management therapy and not to those with chronic conditions. The type of opioid prescription covered by this rule will apparently change as well to immediate release rather than long-term (time release) opioids.

The president and CEO of CVS Health recently stated:

“With a presence in nearly 10,000 communities across the country, we see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , , ,

Volkswagen Ethics? The Myth of Hiding Behind a Corporation

As a society, we have a tendency to separate major corporations and the executives who work for them. This is especially true in matters of foreign corporations, where the unethical behavior of directors or managers is, at best a hazy fog. Not so fast. The tides are shifting and it should stand as a warning to executives of foreign that unethical behavior will be more aggressively prosecuted.   Volkswagen has been on the leading edge of this discussion related to their unethical behavior.

We have been carefully following the emissions cover-up at Volkswagen and up until recently the executives responsible for the unethical behavior have been kept off the stage. Just days ago, prosecutors at the Department of Justice charged six executives who worked in product development and engine development of VW have been charged.  The charges against the six executives include wire fraud, violation of the Clean Air Act and obstruction of justice.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , , , , ,

Ibis Tek LLC: An Unethical Family Dynamic = a $6 million Fraud

There are all kinds of reasons why unethical people commit fraud, but when we boil it all down, they see an opportunity and if there are no checks and balances in place, they will seize that opportunity – just ask the folks at Ibis Tek LLC.

The outrageous expenses for defense are legendary. It is one thing to charge for an item fairly but it is quite another when a contractor chooses to defraud.

In Pennsylvania, there is a small company outside of Butler named Ibis Tek LLC. The company makes, among other things, window assembly kits for the Humvee. It may not sound like much, and maybe that’s what the former executives of the company figured, but former owners (and brothers!) Thomas Buckner and John Buckner, along with the company’s former CFO Harry Kramer, put together a scheme to overcharge the government by $6 million.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , , , , ,

ABB: When an Unethical Fox Guards the Ethics Henhouse

Ethics is a word that is often tossed about with reckless abandon. Executives often take on the role as “ethics officers,” when they, themselves have no idea of what the responsibility entails. It is window dressing. Then there are people who assume the role of ethics over-seers or ombudsmen whose credentials are never explored because, frankly no one else can be bothered to do ABB Ethicsthe training.  This became a real problem for ABB.

You may never have heard of a Swiss engineering group called ABB. They are a huge, multinational organization with operations in South Korea. The treasurer of the Korean branch is also one of two executives in charge of ethics training and for “legal and ethical integrity.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics, Corporate Ethics and tagged , , , , , ,

Automotive Ethics: Volkswagen Going for Ethical Record

No, this is not the reposting of an old blog produced last about Volkswagen faking diesel emissions tests. This is a brand new ethical scandal that is just now developing. Apparently, Volkswagen is attempting to go for an ethical record.

volkswagen-audiIf you may not have known, Volkswagen owns the Audi brand. The company that brought the world the Beetle also brings us luxury cars that run from about $45,000 to the astronomical. Unfortunately, it appears as though money does not equate with good ethics.

Volkswagen has just disclosed (rather, admitted) that Audis have software that is able to lower the car’s carbon dioxide levels during an emissions test. I am not an engineer or software developer and so I can’t even begin to tell you how it works, but the clever folks at Audi were able to fake results so that they are lower than they actually are in everyday traffic situations.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Automotive Ethics, business ethics and tagged , , ,

Gender Equality? Yahoo and Ethics in the Workplace

When we mean “Gender Equality” in hiring, are we all on the same page? We understand that for a ridiculously long time women were unequal in the workplace with glass ceilings and lower pay, poor leave benefits and no workplace accommodations. Legislation, politics, and changing times are welcoming the changes.

Gender equality What of the reverse? What if an organization was intentionally discriminating against men? It sets up an interesting ethical conversation as to gender equality.

According to a newly filed lawsuit, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has intentionally led a secret campaign to rid the company of male employees. Scott Ard, an executive who worked for Yahoo for more than three years has brought the suit.  His issue is gender equality although I am sure there are many women who secretly might be happy to think that perhaps the discrimination they have faced for years is now coming around toward men.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , , ,

Unethical Practices at Volkswagen – Huge Losses – Worth it?

A leader in the diesel automotive industry, Volkswagen once was the leader of the pack.  Now with unethical practices at Volkswagen  all over the news, it’s clear that Volkswagen has fallen from grace by committing what amounts to fraud.  Was it the Volkswagen Diesel Fraudfault of an engineer or a bigger issue of an unethical culture?

Unethical Practices at Volkswagen

Since the scandal broke a year or so ago, nearly 40% of the company’s market value has disappeared.  Volkswagen admitted to fitting 11 million cars with software designed to cheat emissions tests.  That isn’t just unethical it’s illegal.  But then again, as a business ethics expert, I see this all the time.  A simple idea designed to meet a problem becomes a series of actions that seem harmless that become a sub-culture that invades the organization creating wide spread fraud.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , ,

Play Fair or Play to Win: Leon Cooperman and Insider Trading

Play fair or Play to win – that seems to be the question when it comes to business investments, hedge funds, and Wall Street.  So here’s a question for you.  If you learned of a pending benefit or devasting loss related to a company – investing in which could play-fair-or-play-to-winproduce substantial gains – would you play fair or play to win?  Your answer creates the foundation for your moral and ethics code.

It would appear that hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman and his firm Omega Advisors played to win and were recently charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in business ethics and tagged , , , ,