In a struggling economy, business owners often must cut expenses
to keep their businesses afloat. However, when cutting expenses or
making other important business decisions, it is essential to
determine who may be affected and how. By considering the effects
of your business decisions, you also can determine whether your
decisions are ethical.
For example, the owner of a California-based roofing company
recently found himself in legal trouble because of several
unethical business decisions. Rather than considering how his
decisions affected others, the owner only considered the fastest
way to earn a profit. Consequently, he was charged with involuntary
manslaughter after a roofing worker fell from a four-story building
to his death. The worker had removed his fall-protection equipment
(a rope tied around his waist and attached to a roof joist) while
In addition, the company was cited for providing improper safety
equipment on other jobs by the California Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (Cal-OSHA). Therefore, Cal-OSHA proposed a
$70,000 penalty for this accident. When a Cal-OSHA inspector
emphasized the importance of safety to the roofing company's owner,
the owner was quoted as saying,"Money first, safety second."
The owner faces additional felony charges because investigations
into the roofing company's business records found gross sales were
underreported by $4.3 million for five years, payment checks were
cashed at a check-cashing company to avoid reporting income and
employees were paid in cash. The company's owner now faces up to 19
years in prison and more than $3 million in...
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