Working people in businesses of all kinds are faced with similar moral questions. Do I sacrifice quality to cut costs? If I did that, would that be ethical? Is this in the best interests of the community? In some cases, an employer can ask you to do something that sets off your moral red flag. Many employees that are asked to commit a crime may not even know it because they have been trained to follow instructions from their employer. Employees fear losing their jobs when avoiding potentially unethical tasks an employer tells them to do, but if you know your employer is asking you to do something illegal, there can be consequences more severe than getting your next paycheck.
Steps to Take If You Are Asked to Do Something Illegal
- Ask yourself questions about the situation: How unethical is the request? Could it damage your reputation and negatively impact the lives of others? Committing an unethical act can affect your own professional reputation and conscience. It is not just your employer’s reputation on the line. Just because you are taking orders doesn’t mean you should do something you suspect is illegal.
- React with suggestive questions: Ask your employer, are you sure I should do this? Is this what our normal practices are? Getting more information can let you know what the employers angle is, and the employer may realize that their behavior is under a microscope.
Employer Not Budging? Here’s What to Do Next
You have the legal obligation to not commit illegal acts, and so does your employer. File a complaint with your HR department, and consult a whistleblowing attorney if you are threatened with losing your job, or bullied. Contact the proper authorities if necessary.
The Los Angeles whistleblower lawyers at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help protect workers who have been harmed by employer retaliation after exposing unlawful practices.