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Steven Mintz
United States
My ethics knowledge and wisdom gives me a unique perspective on accounting and business ethics, fraud and whistle-blowing, societal and workplace ethics issues.
Interests: Reading, writing, blogging, ethics advice, traveling, eating, sports
Recent Activity
Protecting the Public Interest by Blowing the Whistle on Employer Wrongdoing The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) was adopted by Congress on January 5, 2010 in response to numerous instances of financial fraud by some of the largest companies in the U.S. It changed the regulatory... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
Alibaba’s Unique Structure fraught with Danger for Potential Shareholders Caveat emptor is a term that fits the upcoming IPO of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. The risk is due to the unique ownership interest in the company. This is an interesting IPO because it is a foreign entity and the American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) that will be offered in the IPO do not represent interest in the shares of Alibaba. In fact, the shareholders are a small group of under 20 Chinese individuals, including Jack Ma, the company’s chairman and co-founder who will see his net worth skyrocket when he sells... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Ethics Sage
Should American Investors Trust the Financial Statements Issued by Chinese Companies? I have previously blogged about questions that have been raised by U.S. regulators about the reliability of the financial statements issued by Chinese companies. Recently it was announced that officials from China and the U.S. have committed to cross-border... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What should the Goals Be of Teaching Ethics to Business School Students? Years ago my ethics professor asked our class: Can Business Schools Teach Ethics? More than half of the class said ‘no’. The rest of us said ‘yes’ but we had no idea how to teach ethics effectively. Many of us were uncomfortable with the notion that we would be preaching to our students and telling them what is right and what is wrong. Most of us believed you are born with a good sense of right and wrong and nothing can change the way you will act when... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Ethics Sage
The Ethics of Dating in the Workplace Last week a reader of this blog asked questions about the ethical conflict they experienced in the workplace. The issue is one that many workers encounter so I decided to blog about what I believe is the appropriate action to take – at... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
“No Means No’ an Example of Trying to Legislate Behavior As colleges and universities prepare for the new academic year, this is a good time to discuss a growing problem on campuses throughout the U.S. – sexual assault on women. I have previously blogged about the problem. Now, the California legislature is debating a bill that would require college students to secure “affirmative consent” from their partners at every stage of sexual activity. If the bill is passed, colleges must use the legislature’s definition of consent in their sexual assault policies or risk losing state funding for student financial aid.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Organizational Culture and Ethical Leadership the Key to Workplace Ethics Two weeks ago I blogged about “What is Ethics?” I pointed out that ethics should be based on accepted standards of behavior that have developed over time and come from a variety of sources including: (1) the influence of religious... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Cheating Scandals at Notre Dame and Harvard Raise Questions about Student Responsibilities and Professors’ Ethical Obligations Academic cheating and fraud is prevalent today. The scandal at Notre Dame that was revealed on August 15, and a scandal at Harvard in 2012, stand out as examples of how even the best universities and those with honors codes are not shielded from dishonest behavior on the part of their students. I discuss academic dishonesty in my ethics class so it is an opportune time to examine such issues as we begin another academic year. Academic dishonesty includes both academic fraud, plagiarism, and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Michael,thanks for your thoughts. I certainly agree with them
Employee Counseling Services Strengthen Organizational Performance Employee counseling has emerged as the latest HR tool to attract and retain the best employees and increase the quality of the workforce. In today's fast-paced corporate world, there is virtually no organization free of stress ot stress-free employees. The employees can be stressed,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
When did ‘Making Out’ Become a “Dimension of Compatibility”? Have you seen the new eHarmony commercial where a man and woman are celebrating their 10th anniversary by making out on a sofa? eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren is seen at the party in the commercial by drinking some champagne. As I read it, eHarmony is trying to say that a successful match can lead to such behavior. I object to the making out scene. It is tasteless especially from a match website that purports to match people based on "29 Dimensions of Compatibility." Is making out on the sofa one... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Elliot: I appreciate your comments. I feel the ethical issues revolve around thousands of Christians who have been threatened with death if they do not convert to Islam. The threat is real as Kurdish fighters help to protect refugees trapped in Sinjar. We cannot stand by, in my opinion, in the face of another genocide. We didn't in Bosnia and shouldn't now. This is what moral leadership means. I agree we never should have gone into Iraq but that doesn't mean we shouldn't step in when religious groups are targeted with extinction. If the U.S. doesn't act neither will any other country. We should pick and choose our battles and, I believe, this is one situation that warrants U.S. moral leadership.
Defining Ethics in Society and Workplace Ethics I have been blogging about ethics for some time so it is reasonable to ask what my perspective on ethics is. The term ethics is derived from the Greek word ethikos which itself is derived from the Greek word ethos, meaning custom or... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Courage and Leadership is Lacking in Dealing with Foreign Crises Typically I avoid blogging about political issues. However, I frequently blog about societal issues that have an ethics element. One of the most important ethical values is courage in the sense of standing up for our principles. The issue is critical to U.S. foreign policy and national security matters. The result of our “leaders” failing to exhibit courage is we no longer are leading from the front of key issues and, as some critics have pointed out, we lead from behind. The online publication points out that “courage” has... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Ethical Considerations and Pregnancy Discrimination According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination is a form of illegal sex discrimination. It occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee differently based on her pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. (Treating female employees differently based on their reproductive capacity... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What is the "Fair Share" concept and "Social Responsibility" of Corporate Income Tax Payments to the U.S. Government? I recently blogged about tax inversion with respect to Walgreens possible relocation to Europe as a way to reduce its corporate tax burden. Three hedge funds and a Goldman Sachs investment fund want Walgreens to consider a tax “inversion” and move to Europe. Walgreen Chief Executive Greg Wasson and the company’s chief financial officer recently met in Paris with a hedge fund group that wants the company to leave Illinois for what would most likely be Switzerland, which has lower tax rates.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Understanding Inversion from a Tax Perspective by Hanlen Chang I have previously blogged about the ethics of the concept of tax inversion. I recently came across this well-done piece on the practical aspects of tax inversion. I am re-posting the piece because I believe it may be of interest to my readers. I have also linked to Hanlen Chang's website if you would like more inforation on tax issues. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about U.S. corporations moving their headquarter to a foreign country, a process known as tax inversion. A lot of mainstream media is providing... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Do you know where your tax dollars are going? By its own estimate, the U.S. government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them — tax credits to families that didn't qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
University of Texas Affirmative-Action Program is upheld by a Federal Appeals Court Are affirmative action policies ethical ones for a university to follow? This is the overriding question to be addressed in evaluating race-based decisions about admissions to colleges and universities. I raise the issue because a federal appeals-court panel handed at least a temporary setback to critics of affirmative action on July 15 by ruling that a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin had passed a strict-scrutiny analysis ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Critics of the ruling might believe that the ethical principles of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at Ethics Sage
I really appreciate your comments on the Walgrens proposed tax evasion moves. I also support your decision to change prescriptions. Thanks for your contribution.
How to Build Ethics into an Organization Just one small ethical lapse can snowball into big trouble, a recent study found. As BusinessWeek reported on June 26, workers and companies are vulnerable to scandal unless managers snuff out ethical transgressions, even those that seem minor. When incentives for little fibs... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Are American Companies Ethically Obligated to Pay Taxes in the U.S? U.S. corporations are not legally obligated to pay taxes in the U.S. if they can shift net sales revenue to an overseas subsidiary in a country with a lower tax rate than in the U.S. The question is whether a company such as Walgreens has an ethical responsibility derived from its corporate social responsibility to pay its ‘fair share’ of taxes in the U.S. Perhaps I am naïve on this point. However, the way I look at it is: What would happen if every U.S. corporation shifted its revenue-generating... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Ethics Sage
Tax Minimization and Social Responsibilities of Walmart Recently it was revealed that Walmart is the beneficiary of billions of dollars per year in federal subsidies, according to new report from the non-partisan, progressive group Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state organizations for tax reform. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Facebook Oblivious to its Ethical and Corporate Responsibilities Recently it was revealed that when you agreed to Facebook's terms and conditions, you were agreeing to become a subject in a psychology experiment. Facebook permitted an academic research team to conduct an experiment on a huge number of Facebook's users back in 2012. The researchers adjusted the contents of Facebook timelines for nearly 700,000 users so that either positive or negative news dominated. They found that positive news spread positive responses, and negative news spread negative responses. We already know of Facebook’s use of personal data and most people are well... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at Ethics Sage
What is the link between Civility and Ethics? Incivility in society is on the rise. Virtually all people believe this is so. Every day we witness inconsiderate behavior, ‘in your face’ interaction in communications with others, and other forms of rudeness. There are many causes of incivility not the least... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Workplace Ethics Advice