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Sarah90's avatar

Ethical question,what would you do and how would you handle it...

Asked by Sarah90 (373 points ) September 17th, 2012

Let’s say you found something that if it were to fall in the wrong hands it might leave a nationwide corporation liable in civil lawsuits and if it were sent to the media it would be a complete public relation nightmare for them,costing them money as well the trust of their customers. Would you contact them and inform them of the snafu and leave it at that as you did a good deed or do the preceding but also hint that it would be nice if they reward you for having their backs and hope they do. (criminals would pay handsome for this item) or would you contact the corporation, plainly state what you possess and ask how much is it worth it for them to get this item ?
*Would the latter be considered blackmail ?

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22 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I would send copies to the media immediately and watch with glee as the corporate c*nts go down.
And yes, I consider that the “good deed”.

zenvelo's avatar

The blackmailing is out of the question. So I would have to evaluate whether this would harm people (or has harmed people) if not disclosed, or if it is just really embarrassing, From that I’d make my decision to give it back to the company or pass it on to the media.

Coloma's avatar

I would feel no remorse in swiftly exposing the situation to the proper authorities, media,whatever. I would not attempt to extort any unsavory payoffs for keeping things on the down low. I have left 2 jobs over the years for what I considered unethical situations.

wonderingwhy's avatar

If you’re talking about Halliburton, I’d blackmail their ass – obviously too late as they’ve already announced it (which is good), but I’m sure that’s not the only thing they’ve lost. If you’re just talking generally I’d return it publicly, not for a reward – which would be nice but hardly expected – but to ensure that it’s known that they lost it in the first place; responsibility goes both ways.

ucme's avatar

I certainly wouldn’t be giving such sensitive material to the media, corporate bastards, choke on the irony.

deni's avatar

Maybe if this thing exists then they don’t deserve the money or the trust of their customers that they have right now, so it seems like they might deserve it.

DrBill's avatar

don’t attempt blackmail, turn it over to the authorities, if the company is doing something wrong they need to be exposed.

Sarah90's avatar

* By the way, I am presently in that predicament and I have the little angel and devil on my shoulders each driving me crazy !

wundayatta's avatar

Depending on how important it is, I would probably engage a lawyer. Then I might talk to the press. Mother Jones, perhaps.

If it was only an issue of money, and not of public safety, then I would try to ascertain who owns the property before figuring out what I wanted to do with it.

Kardamom's avatar

@Sarah90 I know my motivation would never be greed or blackmail. I think I would assess the situation, to see if any action that I made would cause any danger to anyone, including myself or my family.

Some things to consider: calling the police, calling any particular governmental agencies that might need to know about this, contacting certain media outlets that I personally consider to be ethical (read: not Fox news) but maybe someone from 60 minutes or Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow or David Gregory, or maybe some type of watch dog group that monitors the type of business in which this found item belongs. And I second @Wundayatta’s idea of retaining a lawyer.

It might even be better to contact more than one of the above groups, if you’re concerned that they might hide or exploit the item you are handing over.

YARNLADY's avatar

Like @wundayatta , my first instinct would be to contact our lawyer. We have a lawyer service at my husband’s work, so we have instant access to a consultation, plus my SIL is a paralegal.

jca's avatar

Blackmail will/can get you sent to jail, so no, I wouldn’t take that route.

JLeslie's avatar

Blackmail? Seriously? No, I would never consider blackmail. Sayng nothing makes you a consirator in a way. Maybe not legally (I don’t know) but ethically. If it is harming others, I would care about the others, which means the company must either change very quickly once told, if for some reason the people at the top were not aware of what was going on, or be exposed to the authorites.

Nullo's avatar

My first thought would be to return or destroy it, but taking it to the authorities sounds good, too. The lawyer isn’t a bad idea, either.

Some friends and I were discussing blackmail once, in high school. A guy in the immediate vicinity, a Pacific Islander and the class wise guy, interjected, “I’m a black male!”

Coloma's avatar

^ haha

cazzie's avatar

Blackmail is pretty stupid, and it is basically, what you are suggesting in your latter scenario. You lose all credibility and face criminal prosecution, even IF you think you have a high horse to stand on. I also thinking trusting large corporations is stupid as well. I would document everything I had come to know and keep it in a file with a trusted lawyer and contact the corporation and whatever government department was in charge of licensing its safety and all meet up in a big room to go over what I found. The corporation would be saved a potential class action suit and the government department could come to an arrangement with the corporation for fixing the ‘snafu’.

Corporations SELDOM welcome trouble of the ‘costing money’ kind and you will need to seriously CYA (cover your ass). You could find yourself facing criminal charges faster than you can say ‘Whistle blower’. Remember, they already have teams of lawyers working for them.

I have personal experience trying to get an ‘Insurance salesman’ prosecuted for fraud in New Zealand. I wasn’t directly involved in the fraud, but knew about it and was affected by its fall-out, but because the Insurance Corporation wouldn’t press charges and hold the agent accountable, it all got swept under the carpet. The corporation didn’t want a mess in the papers. As a result, several people lost their jobs and livelihood and he walked away with not even so much as a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ I can completely relate to that. The deeper the pockets, the more likely it is that someone, or some corporation will win. It has nothing to do with what is right or wrong.

cazzie's avatar

Another thing I thought of, is that, you could ask your lawyer if there is any sort of president in your State for payment for signing a non-disclosure contract with them. Call it ‘hush-money’ if you like- but it is a grey area and you could simply ask. Because you would be giving up your public right to speak about what happened, you may be entitled to compensation.

cazzie's avatar

Ooops… Not *president, but *precident.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie Precedent, even. :D

cazzie's avatar

note to self. Never try to finish a post quickly while trying to get the door for work.

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