The Ethical Barometer

News & Events

Sheryl Sandberg “Leans In” A Little Too Much on Facebook Users

Facebook published a study that indicated it was fooling around with newsfeeds to its users (unbeknownst to those users) to determine whether its scientists could affect users’ emotions with positive and negative news. The problem is that the 700,000 users who were the subjects in the 2012 one-week study were unaware that they were part of the experiment. Those users are fit to be tied, as are government regulators in Britain and Ireland. However, COO Sheryl Sandberg of “Lean In” book and foundation fame, has some reassuring words, “We clearly communicated really badly about this, and that we really regret. We do research in an ongoing way, in a very privacy-protective way, to improve our services, and that was done with this goal.”

Some questions for Facebook users about this statement: (more…)

“The dog ate my homework. And then, well, believe it or not, something ate the dog! And now we can’t even find the something!”

The IRS has given schoolchildren everywhere new insights for homework excuses.

Classic Quotes

“[Don't] give me any of that ethics crap.”

With a hat tip to ethics expert, Jane Antonio, for getting this breaking news to the Barometer, we can offer this classic from one of the vice presidents at DaVita Health Care Partners in response to now former employee, David Barbetta, when he raised questions about the company’s referral practices. DaVita, the third largest company in Denver, runs dialysis clinics and was offering doctors leads and opportunities on joint ventures in clinics in exchange for referrals. DaVita’s patients are 79% Medicare and Medicaid, so Mr. Barbetta, troubled by the conflicts, quit his job at DaVita and blew the whistle to the federal government. Now he and his lawyers will receive 15-25% of the $389 million (more…)

“Legal but shady.”

A Federal Reserve regulator in a taped discussion of a deal Goldman Sachs was proposed. After the team sent questions to Goldman, the obsequious Federal Reserve staff added, “Don’t mistake our inquisitiveness, and our desire to understand more about the marketplace in general as a criticism of you as a firm necessarily.” Appalling grammar aside, the Barometer hasn’t seen groveling at this level since Jane Austen’s Mr. Collins went to Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s castle for dinner.

Ethical Dilemmas

“Get Yourself Fired — You’ll Make More Money!”

The Barometer was strolling through the home section of a major department store.  Tempted by  Christmas potholders at 50% off, the Barometer stopped and soon planted feet firm to continue listening as three employees of this fine establishment conversed about their futures.  The ring leader was explaining to the novice employees that after the new year begins, most of them would be going to part-time status because of slow sales, the economy, health care issues, etc.  The two employees seemed crestfallen.  But, their mentor would have none of it.  “Don’t do it!” said he.  “Get yourself fired because the money you make on unemployment will be better than part-time work here and you can get 99 weeks of unemployment.  Plus, you are eligible for medical care through the government because you are unemployed.  It’s a better deal. It is so not worth it to keep working.” This fine consigliore (more…)

Returning Slightly Used Shoes

Even the well seasoned Dillard’s manager was taken aback by this one. A customer brought in a pair of moderately expensive dress shoes, expressing a desire to return them because they just weren’t quite right. As the manager processed the order she checked inside the box to be sure that the shoes in the box were the shoes the matched the box – past experience dictated that follow-up on returns. The shoes were the correct ones for the box, but the customer had another issue. The shoes had masking tape on the bottom – masking tape that was dirty. When the manager returned to the customer (more…)

Trust Across America - Top 100 Thought Leaders Ethisphere - 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics

Featured Books by Marianne Jennings

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

Business Ethics: Case Studies and Selected Readings, 8th Edition

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Somewhere Between Ezekiel & Miss Havisham - 365 Days At The Cemetery

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The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse

Never trust the people you cheat with. They will throw you under the bus.

A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success

Meet Edgar P. Benchley. Charitable people tend to call him a nerd. Others use less subtle descriptions. If you hear Edgar chatting to himself, don't be alarmed. He has an invisible friend who's kind of a cousin to Harvey from the old movie of the same name with Jimmy Stewart.

Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Volume, 22nd Edition

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Anderson's Business Law and the Legal Environment, Comprehensive Volume, 22nd Edition

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Real Estate Law, 10th Edition

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