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Supervising Workers
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Q. New technology enables employers to keep tabs on workers’ every action. How much surveillance is ethical? A. The relevance of this question was brought home to me recently in the form of a new twist on the old evening news line, “It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” A huge billboard […]
Owner Not Ruler
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Q. In a past column you gave certain limits to legitimate surveillance of employees. Since the workplace and the equipment belong to the employer, isn’t he justified in introducing any means of observation he likes? A. We wrote in the past that workplace privacy is not sacrosanct, but the employer needs valid justification to breach […]
Loans to Family Members
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Q. You have written that those close to us have precedence in charity, and that a loan is often the best form of charity. Should I try to help a needy family member by giving a loan? A. Certainly family members have precedence in charity giving. In a recent column we explained that while all […]
Executive Discretion
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Q. Our non-profit organization recently obtained a donation from a publicly owned corporation. The approval was given directly by the CEO, without going through any kind of committee. Can we keep the money? A. The issue of corporate donations is a vexing dilemma in business ethics. Some groups, including some “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) investors, […]
Cheating Insurance to Save a Life
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Q. I have an uninsured patient who needs a life-sustaining medicine which is beyond his means. The family is urging me to write the prescription for another family member whose drug bills are covered by insurance. A. Your unfortunate situation is a variation of one of the most famous and trying dilemmas in ethics. Renowned […]
Intention to Mislead
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Q. My industry research for my consulting firm requires me to call up companies to ask about their businesses. In order to allay suspicions about my motives, I tell them I am a student studying their industry. Can I continue with this practice? A. Jewish law takes a very negative view of misleading practices. The […]
Where Credit is Due
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Q. A man in our town went to great lengths to mobilize his own resources and those of others in the community to help a distressed and needy person. Is it proper to publicize his acts by reporting them to the news media? A. In general, Judaism looks favorably on giving recognition and honor to […]
Estate Taxes
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Q. Are estate taxes a fair form of taxation? A. I have been studying the topic of estate taxes for some time, and after looking at all the research and the ethical arguments, I have concluded that this form of taxation is underused. Currently the inheritance tax in the United States applies only to rather […]
The Corporation and God
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Q. Lately many business corporations have tried to define their mission in relation to God’s will. Does Judaism support this trend? A. There does seem to be an awakening of interest in the proper role of God in our business dealings. A book entitled God is my CEO has become a national bestseller, while major […]
Trust or Trusts
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Q. I disapprove of the conduct of one of my children. Can I make a bequest conditional on his reform? A. In a previous column I wrote that Jewish law discourages disinheriting a child when we disapprove of his or her conduct. At the end of life, as we sever our connection with the living […]