Rolled back into Alexandria last night, having had an uproarious response from the New Jersey Bar to the special Halloween edition of “Ethics Rock Extreme in Asbury Park seven hours earlier. The group of lawyers demolished all previous groups for sing-along enthusiasm and prowess in the finale, “The Ethics Man,” a parody of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” (My colleague, collaborator and friend Mike Messer gets credit for their verve, I think, for he was in top form, delivering the various songs in hilarious impressions of Joel, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Fogarty, and Bobby Pickett imitating Boris Karloff. among others.
I couldn’t get up the energy after the four-hour drive to get a post up last night, so the Ethics Alarms commentariat ended up holding down the metaphorical fort here for all of Halloween. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments, but thank-you, everyone. There were even some baseball ethics posts!
Still, there are a lot of ethics issues languishing in my absence. I’m fried, and there are also paying ethics jobs to do and promised to keep, so be patient with me, please.
1. An ethics answer to an ethics question. One Forum comment I did see was this one, from Sarah B.
I have an ethics question. The set up is a bit long, so please bear with me.
Imagine a small town where one out of every nine people works for the same company. Now, this company hires predominantly men, not because it is sexist, but because the work and positions available are more likely to be applied for by men. 9 out of every ten employees are male. In addition, it pays well enough that if a married man were to work in a salaried position, he could make enough money that his wife could stay home with the children if the couple displayed only a modicum of frugality. Thus, most stay-at-home mothers in the community have a husband who works for the same employer, usually in different stages of the chain of command.
Now, imagine that there was a low level supervisor and one of his subordinates. They are of similar ages and have similar values. Their wives are of similar ages and find each other to be enjoyable company. Their children are of similar ages and like to play together. Also, no one else in the supervisor’s area is of a similar age, value system, or time in their families. (No kids or college age kids)
Is it unethical for these two families to hang out socially? What if it is just the wives and kids, not the husbands? What about kids birthday parties, as the kids are friends?
I have heard both sides of this argument played out in my town, but often with both sides using some set of rationalizations from our host’s list. I’d like to hear a more educated opinion here.