Terminal Deception

June 24, 2014, by

Q. Is it permissible to mislead a seriously ill patient about his condition, if there is fear that letting him know may discourage him and harm his health?  A. The consideration you mention is certainly acknowledged in our tradition. One example is the deathbed confession. This declaration is of profound importance and can perfect a […]

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Stealing a Business Model

June 24, 2014, by

Q. I have a consulting business that provides a unique service. When I offered my services to a local business, at first they expressed interest and asked me to give details of how I work. However, they eventually declined to hire me, and a few weeks later I learned that they decided to enter my […]

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Renegotiating a Low Estimate

June 24, 2014, by

Q. My contractor estimated that it would take two days to remove my wallpaper and then paint the wall. But it turned out the wall was in bad condition and it took three days instead. I’m thinking of offering him extra payment, but I’m not sure I should. After all, if the job had taken […]

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Ethical Animals

June 24, 2014, by

Q. Why doesn’t Jewish law allow people to be buried together with their animal companions? Don’t animals also have a soul?  A. Your question is a profound one. We can arrive at a partial answer by a careful examination of the various sources relating to animals. Let’s start with the Bible. On the one hand, […]

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Witness Character

June 24, 2014, by

Q. Much of my income as a real estate appraiser comes from testifying as an expert witness. The litigants who hire me expect me to give low appraisals which will help them in court, and they’ll stop hiring me if I don’t meet their expectations. Can I tailor my testimony to the needs of my […]

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No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

June 24, 2014, by

Q. For years, the kitchen where I work has provided free meals to employees. Now we have a new boss, who has discontinued this policy. Now we’re not even allowed to take leftovers. The new policy creates much hardship and resentment for employees. Some have even continued to take food surreptitiously! Does the employer have […]

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Poaching Employees

June 24, 2014, by

Q. I have been disappointed with many aspects of the cleaning service I’ve been using, but I’m actually very satisfied with the young woman who has been coming to clean. Can I just cut out the middleman and hire her directly?  A. The issue of poaching workers is an ancient one, which is extensively discussed […]

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Stealing Bases

June 24, 2014, by

Q. My son is pretty quick, and his little league coach has been encouraging him to steal bases. I’m worried that this is improper behavior. A player deserves to advance if he earns it through a hit, or if the defense forfeits a base through an error. But is it really ethical to steal a […]

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Contractor Malpractice

June 24, 2014, by

Q. When I brought a contractor to look at dampness in my basement, he told me he was pretty sure there was seepage and excavation would be needed to fix the problem. After thousands of dollars of work, the dampness was no better! In the end the problem turned out to be condensation, which required […]

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State Lottery-Entertainment or Exploitation

June 24, 2014, by

Q. I work for a state lottery. Sometimes I wonder if we are taking unfair advantage of our customers’ dreams of riches.  A. Your question is a common one. What makes it complex is that lotteries, like other gambling games, mean different things to different people. For some people, gambling is a form of entertainment. […]

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