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Undercharge Undercurrent
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Q. At a recent trip to the supermarket the checker accidentally failed to me charge for some items. I want to return the money, but I’m afraid that if I bring back the receipt the boss will take unwarranted punitive action against the checker. A. Your concern is well placed. We have often cited here […]
Rebate Racket
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Q. Our store has advertised a rebate on purchases. But my boss has instructed me to inflate the usual price so that the after-rebate amount is the same as before! What should I do? A. The policy you describe is definitely unethical. When a company advertises a sale, a markdown, or a rebate, the customer […]
White Lie Redux
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Q. Sometimes I’m just too busy to talk even to an important customer. Can I avoid offending them by asking my secretary say that I’m out of the office or in a meeting? A. Truth is a supreme value in Jewish tradition, and the Talmud states that “The seal of the Holy One, blessed be […]
Blame Game
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Q. In our workplace, shifting blame is commonplace. How can I defend myself without being unfair to others? A. While to err is human, no one wants to get left holding the bag — especially if it may damage chances for a raise or a promotion. In many workplaces, the result is that much productive […]
Sweatshops
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Q. Many consumer products are made in third world countries in sweatshop conditions. Is buying these products exploiting the workers? Or perhaps it is actually helping them, because it provides them with work and gives them a chance to improve living conditions? What about the effect on local workers? A. The foreign sweatshop debate has […]
Fishy Fine Print
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Q. When a distant store had a sale on tuna, I made a special trip to stock up. But when I arrived, they showed me the fine print of the ad stating “limited quantity.” Shouldn’t this have been more prominent? A. A well-known Talmudic discussion will provide the precise answer to your question. Nowadays we […]
Leading By Example
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Q. You wrote that when we can’t realistically create solidarity with distant sweatshop workers, it may be better to concentrate on improving conditions for local workers, who are really far better off. [See: Sweatshops] Isn’t this evading our responsibility to help the impoverished? A. In a recent column, we discussed the value in Jewish tradition […]
Charitable Return
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Q. I’m embarrassed to return money I owe someone. Can I just give the money to charity? A. Jewish tradition places the highest value on returning property to its owner. Anyone who takes someone else’s property, even inadvertently, is obligated to return it. As we pointed out in a previous column, we are generally obliged […]
Ethical Work
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Q. What does Judaism say about the work ethic? A. The term “work ethic” conjures up the image of legions of devoted and diligent workers. But a closer analysis reveals that this phrase actually has two distinct meanings. On the one hand, we use it to describe someone who has good work habits: when at […]
Monitoring Workers
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Q. There was recently a high-profile case of a manager who lost his job because he was caught viewing improper web sites. How much intrusive monitoring is ethical, and how should management react to its findings? A. There is no doubt that it is proper and even vital to keep an eye on workers to […]