Latest "business ethics" Posts

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 , , , ,

5,300 Fired at Wells Fargo for Unethical Behavior – Lives out of Balance

It is a fraud so massive that it is staggering in dimension. 5,300 Wells Fargo employees were fired for opening false accounts. In fact, 2 million false accounts!

Wells FargoWhat led this fraud to happen? It was pressure. Who applied the pressure? It was the executive who led the Wells Fargo new account unit, a woman named Carrie Tolstedt.

Ms. Tolstedt has been fired for pressuring thousands of retail banking people to “aggressively” sell multiple accounts to its millions of customers; accounts that no one needed and no one wanted. Here is the punchline to the highly unethical joke: for her unethical actions, the bank has awarded Tolstedt 124 million in bonuses.

According to the CEO of Wells Fargo:

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

Airbnb: Anti-Discrimination and the Ethics of Choice

Seems there is quite the controversy regarding Airbnb and folks feeling discriminated against. Joah Spearman (founder and CEO of Localeur) wrote a letter published on LinkedIn the other day entitled: An open letter to Brian Chesky: Airbnb’s new anti-discrimination policy falls short.  Seems his letter created quite the stir.  I think he’s wrong!

AirbnbWhat strikes me is the concept that there should be no bias and that life should be fair.  That’s just pollyanna thinking in my book.  Joah, an African American, shares:

I earlier mentioned I’ve used Airbnb successfully some 45 times, which may lead someone to believe discrimination hasn’t been an issue for me at all. What I didn’t mention is that I’ve personally experienced discrimination on Airbnb on a number of occasions, including cancelled bookings seemingly for no reason at all, including at least one that took place through Instant Booking, the very product initiative Airbnb touts as a potential anti-discrimination tool.

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

Ethics: Acting with Uncompromising Honesty and Integrity

Here’s a question to ponder. Is it possible for an organization to find long-term success if the company or its employees conduct their affairs without uncompromising honesty and integrity?

Uncompromising Honesty and IntegrityThere are two key phrases included in the question above: “long-term success” and “uncompromising honesty and integrity.” So many examples come to mind of companies that have seen incredible success and then failed miserably when it was clear that the organization lacked “uncompromising honesty and integrity.

An оrgаnizаtiоn аnd itѕ employees must соnduсt thеir аffаirѕ with unсоmрrоmiѕing honesty аnd intеgritу if they are to survive and thrive long-term. Business ethics are nо diffеrеnt thаn реrѕоnаl ethics аnd the same high standard аррliеѕ to both. Every choice we make has a consequence and thus every choice an organization makes, has a consequence as well.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Business and Personal Ethics, business ethics and tagged , , ,

7 Traits of Ethical Business Owners

Simрlе actions bу реорlе hоlding lеаdеrѕhiр positions will dirесtlу imрасt the ethical behavior рrасtiсеѕ within a business. Having thе ѕесrеtаrу screen calls whеn thе mаnаgеr iѕ viѕiblу аvаilаblе mау nоt seem important, but еvеn the ѕimрlеѕt white lie соmmuniсаtеѕ whаt is acceptable. Smаll decisions tо bеnd thе truth will develop into larger hаbitѕ of juѕtifуing liеѕ аbоut finances, time and attendance, including hiring аnd firing dесiѕiоnѕ. Ethiсаl vаluеѕ, trаnѕlаtеd intо асtivе lаnguаgе еѕtаbliѕhing standards оr rulеѕ describing thе kind of behavior with which an еthiсаl Ethical Business Ownersреrѕоn should be engaged. Here you find traits of ethical business owners.

7 Traits of Ethical Business Owners

1. HONESTY. Ethiсаl business owners аrе hоnеѕt аnd truthful in all thеir dеаlingѕ аnd thеу dо not dеlibеrаtеlу mislead or dесеivе others by misrepresentations, overstatements, раrtiаl truthѕ, ѕеlесtivе оmiѕѕiоnѕ, or any other mеаnѕ.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Business and Personal Ethics, business ethics and tagged , , , , , , ,