Break The Law. Blow The Whistle. Go To Prison. Get $104 Million.
Ethics is something that should come natural but unfortunately reality differs from this ideal. Despite the classes on ethics that some college majors have to take and the required ethics sections on many cotemporary certification exams, laws continue to be broken. Harvard Business School even required a code of ethics card be signed by all of its students in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Is the problem that people do not understand what they are taught and the ethics education is not satisfactory? No, people understand the arguments fine but choose to overlook them. Sometimes unethical practices can be engrained in your company’s culture if management practices go unmonitored. Just look at UBS. There was a time some 7 or so years ago when UBS could seemingly do no wrong. Oh how that has changed. There have been many scandals lately from the Swiss giant but recent events might impact all businesses everywhere. I am talking of course about the recent government decision to give Bradley Birkenfeld $104 million for his aid in bringing down the massive tax evasion scheme going within UBS. The thing is, Bradley was participating in the illegal practices. He was prosecuted and went to jail along with the other but received a lesser sentence and that substantial reward. Many times, people don’t go forward with outing unethical practices because they fear financial hardships from within the company or they were participating and would be equally liable for anything they brought forward. With this ruling, however, many more people may see a reason to come forward now. Manpower Group continues, “Birkenfeld did indeed pay a huge price but he also will reap a huge reward. This week, word got out that Birkenfeld will get $104 million for blowing the whistle on UBS. The U.S. government defended the payment, pointing out that its $104 million “investment” in Birkenfeld generated a 50-fold return.
In the wake of the Madoff scandal, Congress beefed up whistleblower incentives and protections, particularly through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. If you’re on the right side of the law, you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if you’re on the wrong side of the law, your employees now have 104 million more reasons to consider running to the federal government to turn you in. The message? Please please please stay on the right side of the law…”
Source - ManpowerGroup