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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Have you ever left a job because of ethical considerations?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38980points) December 9th, 2011

Was there ever a time you could no longer work someplace because you found yourself serving an unethical cause or taking unethical actions? Now, no one else thought so and it was part of ‘company policy’ and you might not have always had a problem with any of it yourself but you eventually could no longer be a part of it. Did you quit?

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20 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

Yes. I can’t really elaborate, but I strongly disagreed with conditions under which the results of my efforts were to be applied and the single-minded unwillingness to consider admittedly viable alternatives.

Since then I’ve turned down contracts due to ethical concerns and managed to negotiate more favorable conditions in others.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Interesting question.

Facade's avatar

That’s part of the reason I quit my most recent job. I was a CSR in a call center. We called physician’s offices to offer them free samples of prescription meds from the biggest pharmaceutical companies. I passionately dislike big pharma, but I needed the money. I felt like I was betraying my ethics every time I set foot in that place, plus it was a very shitty job in general, so I quit.

marinelife's avatar

I was having problems with my boss’ ethical stance, but the company went under so I did not quit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I worked for the wireless industry in the late 1990’s, the issue of talking on the phone while driving raised it’s head for the first time. Corporate instructed us to tell customers that talking on the phone while driving was no more distracting that eating while driving. I refused to say that. I always told my customers to NEVER talk on the phone while driving.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I worked at a pet store for a while and was always bothered by the fact that animals were treated as product rather than living breathing creatures. It was always just how can we spend the least amount of money and still turn a profit instead of actually taking care of these animals. I couldnt take it anymore. Planned on quitting but got fired before hand over some bullshit. Whatever, I’m not workin there anymore so I’m happy :)

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t agree with some of the U.S. military values, but I feel it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to get out, yet. I feel spineless, but we can’t always throw away a rational decision for ideology, I guess.

nikipedia's avatar

When I taught test prep classes, there wasn’t any single thing that put me over the edge, but the company was constantly doing shady things to make a buck. They lied about my qualifications, lied about mistakes they made, engineered the money back guarantee so it was almost impossible to actually get it, and generally didn’t give a fuck about the students or teachers. It was all about making money. I quit as soon as I got a better offer.

JLeslie's avatar

No, but it happened to my husband. He got out as fast as he could. He first tried to change some of the practices, but when his boss, and the people above that level didn’t want to hear it, he left. A lot of it might have fallen in a grey area, not necessarily illegal, I’m not sure, but I just know my husband could not be a part of it. One of the many reasons I think he is awesome.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, and I went to court over it as well.
This was years ago, I was 19–20 years old and worked at a home for developmentally disabled young adults. The owner was verbally abusive and, it turns out she was pilfering the residents disability or SSI checks for her own use.

I had already quit and then I was called to court some months later and testified on the instances of verbal abuse I had witnessed. The woman was a total whack job and they shut her down.

Aethelwine's avatar

A travel agency I worked for sponsored an annual Alaska cruise tour. An elderly couple came into the agency and wanted to book a cabin on the cruise ship with the tour group for their 50th wedding anniversary, but we had sold out of our tour group space. There were still several cabins available on the ship and the rate was close to $1500 less if the couple had booked directly with the cruise line. My boss told me to book the elderly couple with the cruise line but charge the couple our rate.

I wanted to tell the couple they could save $1500 by booking with the cruise line, but of course I couldn’t. I felt terrible for lying to the couple. They had saved for years so they could go on this trip. I quit not long after that. I was not cut out to be a lying salesperson.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Coloma that’s terrible. My head injured sister lives with us and that is one of the several reasons she does. Thankfully, not everyone who works with the disabled are like this. But all it takes is one to wreak havoc.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, I also worked in assisted living once, and I really LOVED the elderly women I cared for, but, those environments tend to attract rather low lifey people, that’s why I quit.
It’s sad, for every truly caring and devoted worker there are 5 that are screwed up in one way or another.

tedd's avatar

Thankfully I have not been faced with this problem. My jobs have all been pretty devoid of ethical questions.

I would like to think that I would leave a job though if I had a huge ethical disagreement.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Yes and it was greatest decsion of my life. I ended up doing something very different and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

@Blackberry do you dislike the military values or the values of the washington task masters?

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond So the $1500 went directly to the travel agency? That seems like a lot of extra miney to pay for the service of using a travel agency. Was/is that common? I had been under the impression, although I realize now ot is just an assumption of mine, that travel agencies get a commission, but that it doesn’t cost the customer any more money.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, it went straight to the travel agency. I don’t think this is a common practice with other agencies, just the shady ones. The agency does get a commission and it doesn’t cost the costumer any more than it would if they went directly through an airline or cruise line, but tours sponsored by the agency may be a bit different because the customer is getting the chaperon from the agency. The price of the cruise may also have cost more at the time the agency booked the group space, so when the couple wanted to book the cruise at the last minute, the cruise line had a different rate, one much lower than when our agency booked it.

Blackberry's avatar

@Lightlyseared Good distinction: the people in Washington. One small example: in Navy instruction, I can be punished for protesting. People in the military aren’t supposed to be affiliated with protest or activist groups.

Paradox25's avatar

I need to watch what I say here. There was one company that for some reason was too cheap to buy parts I needed to perform electrical work on a pelletizer/extrusion unit, relating to both the transmission power and control circuitry. They knew I would be violating codes and safety standards (I let them know this on numerous occasions so yes they knew) by doing the work the way I would had been forced to had I stayed on to finish it. It was a tough decision because I had to add the job on my resume and try to find a way to explain the super short amount of time I stayed with that particular company, all without badmouthing them. Not an easy task.

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