When you’re considering this scenario, try to pay attention to how your deciding what’s ethical. There is no right or wrong decision. Your goal should be to consider how you decide what’s ethical. Is there a rule that you’re using? Are you focused more on the consequences of the actions? Or are you thinking instead about how the individuals involved should stay true to their character? In your response, tell me what they should do, why they should do it, and which theory (consequence-based, rule-based, or character-based) your decision is most aligned with.
Neil Murray has been working for a small accounting firm since the last eight months. He had left a grueling position with one of the major firms in New York City in favor of a chance to work at Johnston & Marcus. Even though Neil makes a little less money, he truly values the other “perks” of the job. Neil appreciates how the founding partners have established a supportive environment. The firm maintains a warm, family atmosphere, where people truly feel that they are legitimately cared for. Neil no longer works long nights or weekends, and he’s been able to reconnect with his young family by eating dinner together every night and volunteering as a Little League coach. That extra time has also allowed Neil to pick up a workout regimen to get his health back in order. He also loves how the firm encourages their staff to volunteer their accounting talents to local nonprofits by rewarding them with paid vacation time for their efforts. In short, Neil has found his new job extremely rewarding, both professionally and personally.
Once a month, however, Neil has to file a status report on the firm’s standing and financials to a clearing house. It isn’t a long or complicated report, but Neil dreads completing it, because his boss requires Neil to falsify information that needs to be included.
Neil hasn’t challenged his boss, and he has simply complied with the request.
During the last two months, as the report date looms, Neil finds himself getting depressed. He has begun to get sick to his stomach when he thinks about completing the forms using incorrect information. Neil doesn’t even want to sign his name to the document, because he knows that he is committing a crime.
If this were occurring at Neil’s former job, Neil would have quit the first time he was asked to lie. However, he feels so strongly about how well he loves everything else at Johnston & Marcus that it’s hard for him to imagine leaving.
What should Neil do?