General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What are some of the moral dilemmas you've been faced with at work or school?

Asked by wundayatta (58377 points ) March 17th, 2009

Or, for that matter, your personal life, so long as it’s not a love-related moral dilemma. We get enough of that elsewhere.

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32 Answers

aviona's avatar

To go to class or not to go to class…that is the question.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Whether or not to cheat at school, whether or not to steal or drink/smoke on the job or admit guilt at a mistake at work. I try to do the right thing, but I’ve definitely gone with the other option before.

Oh yeah, I forgot: Whether or not to flirt with/fuck/kill/bitch out coworkers.

marinelife's avatar

I once worked for a boss who loved to cheat and cut corners. He had no scruples and was interested in making the most by doing the least. He also lied to customers.

As I was debating whether I could even continue in his employ because of the association with him or appearance that I supported those practices, the board fired him. Whew!

nebule's avatar

whether or not to finally punch the girl in the face that had been bullying me for years on end…and get into trouble…or just verbally challenge her and see what happened…

i did the latter…it worked out ok

but i wish i’d done the former I don’t know why this is…:-) only in my dark moments of course…the other times i’m a pleasant lovely harmless soul

basp's avatar

I had a position in local government and was told to lie on the reports I sent to the state. The persons telling me to falsify the information were local elected politicians.
I refused to falsify the information.
They made my life a lving hell for about a year, trying to get rid of me but they had no basis to fire me other than they didn’t like me for not folding to their demands.
Eventually, their main henchmen were charged and convicted for fraud and corruption.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Should I look after a patient who is having an abortion?

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Lightlyseared: Hate the game, not the player in this situation. Letting someone suffer because of a personal decision? Not kosher.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@TitsMcGhee yup. Some of my colleagues would disagree with you though.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@Lightlyseared: To me, it’s the same thing as denying care to someone because of their religion, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, height, weight, hair color, shoe size, place of residence, occupation, favorite ice cream flavor, or name. It’s so unfortunate that people can’t see beyond something like that to help a fellow human being.

Jack79's avatar

Here’s a tough one I had last year:

I had a 16-y-old with a variety of psychological problems, including suicide attempts. This may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that she was adopted (and did not know yet). Her parents were generally nice though overprotective and perhaps trying too hard. Anyway, nobody was supposed to know the secret and it was obviously not my business to tell.

One day we had a lesson about genes, and she casually mentioned that she had nothing in common with either of her parents, or even her grandparents. And that her blood type also didn’t make sense. Another student joked that she must have been adopted then, and started teasing her about it.

My dilemma was:
1) do I tell the other student (a generally nice and trustworthy kid) the truth so that he stops the teasing (he really didn’t mean any harm, but could have made her suspicious).
2) do I tell the girl herself something which in my own opinion her parents should have made clear from the start?
3) do I talk to the parents?

In the end I did none of the above. The teasing stopped on its own and as far as I know she still hasn’t suspected the truth. Her parents are still troubled by all sorts of things, which may be why they don’t want to upset her even more right now.

fireside's avatar

I had a boss just like Marina’s except he owned the company.
It was a fine line t balance between getting the experience I needed and staying in a place that was so filled with deceit.

tinyfaery's avatar

I work for collection attorneys. Need I say more?

wundayatta's avatar

@tinyfaery: In fact, yes you must. What, exactly, do they expect from you? How nefarious are they? What are the tricks of the trade?

For a while now, we’ve been getting calls from a collection agency. We don’t answer them. (not because we are hiding, but because we don’t want to waste time. We don’t owe a thing. Well, we won’t in two months, anyway.) Today we found a message on our machine asking if we were Mabel somebody or other. Not even close! The message said that if we didn’t hang up immediately, they would assume they were talking to Mabel. It also said that this was private information, so we shouldn’t listen to it if we weren’t Mabel.

I dunno. Sounds like a pretty weak approach to me. I guess my machine is named Mable. Never knew that, before. I wonder what kind of purchases my answering machine has been making and not paying for. Crafty little machine, isn’t it?

ubersiren's avatar

Should this be the last time my boyfriend and I have sex in the bathroom while I’m on the clock?... ok, just once more.

tinyfaery's avatar

Collection agencies are not always attorneys. We don’t play those types of games. If people do not respond to a default letter we sue them, and then they have to answer to the court.

My firm is actually very well-known and well-respected in the business. However, we do a lot of business with assisted living facilities and I feel so bad about trying to collect from people who just lost their family member. Sometimes people cry to me on the phone. As you might know, my former career was that of a counselor, so I immediately go into crisis control mode. Technically, these people signed a contract and they owe money, but I hear such horror stories about these facilities. If I were an attorney, I’d go after the supposed caretakers.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@ubersiren: I’ve had sex on the clock too! In the walk in freezer :)

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I don’t even know where to start.

cookieman's avatar

The day after we received our daughter in China we were told by the agency that there had been a terrible mistake and the child we were given had downs syndrome. They insisted we give her back and they would get us “another one”.

Despite some of the physical symptoms (single line on the palm, hooded eyes, fleshy neck, flat head) we didn’t believe it.

As luck would have it, there were two Red Cross missionaries accross the hotel hall. One was a doctor. They looked at her and agreed – they didn’t think she had downs.

Still the agency insisted – almost demanded – we return her. They were very worried about losing face should she turn out to be sick.

The dilema was that if we returned her, she would go back to the orphanage and be removed from adoption consideration because she was considered damaged goods.

We couldn’t even fathom that. So the next morning when the orphanage director came to collect her, we refused to give her up and demanded a flight to a Red Cross hospital to have her tested.

The agency and orphanage people were livid, but after some heated discussion they finally caved and got us a plane.

We just couldn’t bear the thought that she got to finally leave the orphanage only to be dragged back there and be labelled “unadoptable”.

Jack79's avatar

So cprevite, did she have Down’s in the end?

augustlan's avatar

I’ve had three unscrupulous bosses, and all owned the companies I worked for. In the cases where they wanted me to lie or falsify records, I refused. But I also didn’t report them to authorities. They did not fire me. When I was a teenager, I worked for two brothers who owned separate companies, side by side. One of them tried to convince me to pose for naked photos for him, and just about chased me around a desk. I managed to fend him off. The other also wanted in my pants, but as I liked him I found the idea attractive. However, he was married. The dilemma was whether or not to become a ‘kept woman’ for him. I almost did it, but in the end I declined. Not for any high moral reason though… just because he pissed me off about something. I’m so glad I didn’t do it. My moral, ethical self of today would be appalled!

Noon's avatar

I work as a Sign Language interpreter. Moral and ethical dilemmas happen all the time. There are books written just on the ethical dilemmas faced by sign language interpreters (like many other professions that are prone to these types of situations)

For the most part, we are usually able to justify most of what we do simply because we are not in fact the perpetrator of the laps in morals/ethics. As an interpreter our ultimate commitment is to provide equal access of communication for all involved.

This can mean interpreting over heard test answers during an exam. Or interpreting what you know to be lies. I have interpreted for people over the phone claiming to be someone else in order to get privileged information. Even interpreted drug deals over the phone.

This is often not a problem when they are simple things like lies and illegal activities. Sure it may conflict with my personal morals, but I know it happens and Deaf people have the right to do those things just like I have the right to do them. So usually simple things like that are easy to justify.

The situations that stick with me, and I’ll never forget are when I’m put in a situation where I have to interpret things that hit much closer to home. Having to interpret homophobic language, racist language, or abusive language. Having to maintain my ethical commitment to stay true to the message, and facilitate communication even though that communication directly comments on who I am.

Sure what I really want to do is stand up, call them an ass (or much harsher words) and storm out of the room/cubical/office/etc. But ethically, I can’t, so I don’t.

Besides that, interpreting is a great job. I love it, and recommend it to anyone willing to make the commitment to become fluent in a culture/language. ;-)

cookieman's avatar

@Jack79: No, she did not. The “symptoms” they referred to turned out to be coinceidence or caused by other things.

The main cause was that she was severely neglected since birth. She was one when we adopted her.

augustlan's avatar

@cprevite Sounds like she is a lucky girl to have such determined parents.

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan: Why thank you -but truly, we are the lucky ones

ubersiren's avatar

@TitsMcGhee : Yeesh, were you FrozenNipplesMcGhee that day?

wundayatta's avatar

@Noon: thanks for that story. This what I love about fluther. You learn things you had no idea existed. I wonder what they train you about these ethical situations? Is there a standard line? That you must be true to translation, no matter what you think about what is being said?

Further, I am amazed that anyone would say this stuff using a translator. Don’t they have any worries or sense of shame?

And what happens if you are subpoenaed? Do you have to keep it confidential?

Noon's avatar

@daloon
Yeah, there is quite a bit of training in interpreting programs about how to resolve these situations. (Assuming the interpreter has actually taken training to become an interpreter, unfortunately there are many people out there who think that if you can move your hands and look good, you are an interpreter. We do have a national certification, but there are still people out there who work without it)

Yes ultimately you must be true to the message and translate appropriately. However if you come to realize that it may be impossible for you to do so (for what ever reason), there are ways in which you can excuse yourself from a job. Sure it becomes complicated, having to find a sub, and what not. But there are ways to get yourself out of those kind of situations if they become much too hard to handle. Unfortunately there are too few interpreters out there, so sometimes excusing yourself from a job means you know that they will go interpreter-less. So then the ethical dilemma becomes what is more important my sanity, and realization I may not be able to be true to the message? Or knowing that if I leave, the clients will no longer have access to communication?

And yeah, people do say that kind of stuff using a translator. When they get comfortable with the process, it should hopefully feel like the interpreter isn’t even there. (easier to do on the phone than in person) Also keep in mind that some Deaf people have to become very comfortable with the interpreting process. Interpreters are there for their prostate exams, bank interviews, psych evals, HIV tests. What sense of shame can you have when someone knows that much about you?

I’d have to brush up on the subpoena issues, since I do no legal interpreting, stuff like that doesn’t come up for me (I guess it still could). But yes we are bound by confidentiality. So I’m sure there are certain situations where legally that can be broken, but for the most part yes everything is kept confidential.

wundayatta's avatar

@Noon: Thanks. ;-)

Sellz's avatar

AT WORK (Iraq) I’m face with either snapping on someone or keeping my cool. Being here is stress enough and all the nonsense created by some fellow-soldiers cand be easily done without.

-Sellz (US Army)

Lightlyseared's avatar

@TitsMcGhee I would have to argue that not wanting to care for someone having an abortion is different to not wanting to care for someone based on those other things you mention.

With an abortion a viable, possibly even perfectly healthy, human life is destroyed. Some people just do not want to have the fact that they have assisted with that on their conscience.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@ubersiren: It wasn’t actually that cold, but it definitely was an experience of note.

@Lightlyseared: Not wanting to assist on an abortion and not providing care to someone who has had an abortion are two entirely separate things. And not all fetuses are viable at the time of an abortion.

Kraken's avatar

Cheating of course. Find a fast way out instead of working for it. The mind is perplexed at what to do.

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