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Old 10-25-2001, 08:26 AM
Monty Python Monty Python is offline
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Suppose your boss asks you to do something unethical (let's keep this vague). What do you do? Keep in mind this is not a one-on-one request, but something that came up during a group meeting with several employees being effected.

- confront the supervisor as a group
- meet with the boss individually
- ignore the request
- look for work elsewhere
- other

Thank you for your help.
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Old 10-25-2001, 08:48 AM
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Patience Patience is offline
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assuming it is something truly un-ethical and not a gray area that bothers you. What ever you do be sure you are right & it better be balck & white. More detail would help.

Secondly a lot would depend on who was the ultimate decision maker on the issue, how high it goes. Don't go over your bosses head, but you would have to be willing to lose your job if you fight this.

Thirdly, is it unethical from an actuarial perspective, you would be required to report it. Is it illegal, from a regulatory perspective, you could be in the same boat.

1st: I would speak with my supervisor. Hopefully he would allay my problems with the project or go with me to the next level.

2nd: I would say I am not comfortable working on this project and wish to be assigned elsewhere

3rd: Start looking elsewhere, assuming this won't be a one time incident.

4th: Keep meticulous notes to protect yourself, keeping in mind all internal memos can be subject to any investigation, including files, personal files & e-mail.
"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name...
In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain"
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Old 10-25-2001, 09:18 AM
Me Me is offline
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Considering how vague you're keeping this, I would probably contact the ABCD. I believe they can give you advice on situations confidentially.
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Old 10-25-2001, 09:50 AM
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If it seemed clearly unethical, I would have brought it up in the group. People throw out stupid suggestions in group settings all the time. Doesn't mean it was thought out or intentionally evil, that's just how groups work when you're brainstorming. Some ideas are great, some have minor flaws, some are administratively infeasible, and others are ethically/legally not the way you should be going.
As a third party, I'd be more concerned with the fact you didn't feel comfortable bringing it up right away as part of the group. Depending on the circumstances, that tells me there's either a problem with you not being assertive enough, with your boss not being open enough to group criticism (and I don't use criticism as a negative word, just having his ideas/thoughts analyzed rather than accepted as an order), or perception/communication problems between the two of you.
I've told my boss I don't like some of his ideas in a public setting, and I've had plenty of other people say the same to me. As long as it's not presented in a "you're such an idiot for saying that" sort of way, nobody I've worked with seems to mind it. And I would think less of somebody if they didn't feel comfortable telling me I had come up with a bad plan while we were still meeting as a group (if for no other reason than we now have to get the whole group back together to talk about it again).
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Old 10-25-2001, 10:55 AM
42 42 is offline
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Speaking as somebody who's been through this (and ultimately left a job as a result of it), I'm in agreement with Patience on most points. Can you at least give us the following details:
  1. Is the issue black and white? If not, you may also want to check with the others who were at the meeting to see if they feel the same way you do before speaking to your boss about it.
  2. Is your boss an actuary? If so, does he/she tend to push the envelope when it comes to ethics, or is this the first time the issue of ethics has arisen? This may tell you how receptive he will be to your concerns.
  3. If your boss is not an actuary, is this an issue that perhaps a non-actuary might not recognize as being unethical? You may find that you occasionally need to educate a non-actuarial boss about things like ASoPs.
  4. Are the people higher up the chain of command aware of the situation? What is your relationship with them? I do not advocate going over your boss's head. However, if you feel the issue is black and white and one that must be reported to an authority if the company follows through with what you have been asked to do, start with somebody in authority in your own company.

When you discuss this with your boss, start by clarifying exactly what it was he asked the group to do. (Maybe you misinterpreted what he wanted.) Paraphrase it in a way that might make it easier for him to see that it may be unethical (i.e., let him discover it for himself without you having to spell it out). If that doesn't work, outline your concerns and see how he addresses them. If it's just a difference of opinion on a grey area, that's when I think you could let him know that you're not comfortable and ask if you can be reassigned.
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Old 10-30-2001, 07:59 AM
Intents Intents is offline
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Ideally the ABCD has more teeth than in the past but I doubt it. Few actuaries are reprimanded. I went for some of that confidential stuff one time and never saw action, the company went under. I had packed my bags well before.

On the other side, I have been through a lot of situations where people raise the ethics question way prematurely due to the high horse they want to look like their riding and don't see the Don Quixote reality of their comments.

Finally, I did severely limit my career by refusing to lie when told to do so. But, I do sleep well.
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Old 10-30-2001, 03:45 PM
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Take 2 Take 2 is offline
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I agree with Patience. If it is not truly an actuarial issue, you might find a way to avoid the situation without violating ethics.
But if it IS actuarial, ABCD can help. Start by calling Lauren Bloom, AAA attorney. She's easy to talk to, and very helpful.
Then pray for inspiration/guidance/protection.
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Old 11-27-2001, 09:36 AM
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Many good answers have already been offered. I won't repeat them and have no reason to argue with them.

If you still feel short of options, however, find the book, "Tempered Radicals," by Debra Meyerson ($24.95 list, Harvard Business School Press).

This book has many practical ideas for dealing with difficult situations, even if they don't involve clear, black-and-white issues.
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