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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
Judge Hanen Orders a Halt to Implementation of DACA and DAPA Perhaps you have heard that U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued an opinion five days ago that found that Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers not only lied to him and opposing counsel but “it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.” What is even remarkable however is that, after finding such calculated and unethical conduct, Hanen ordered the lawyers to simply take ethics classes rather than refer them to the bar for suspension or disbarment. Notably, the DOJ is opposing ethical classes as... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Ethics Sage
The Disappearing Art of the Independent Audit What is it with the accounting profession that now likes to be called professional services companies? Have they lost their way? Have they sacrificed the very value that makes them a profession – and historically a respected one at that – all for... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Workplace Ethics Advice
'Virtuous' Grit is an Essential Ethical Value Last week I watch a TED presentation by Angela Duckworth who discussed her findings in a 2013 TED Talk, where she defined grit as passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. I realized this was a hot topic when I saw her presentation had 8.5 million views. Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology at the University... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Jim, thanks for your comments. I totally agree with you...Steve
The Decline of Political Morality Ted Cruz’s fellow senators believe he is selfish. They believe he is out for his own good and that he has had aspirations to be President of the United States since his election to the Senate from Texas just four years ago. Last week we... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
What is the purpose of a Liberal Education? I don’t know about you but I have always believed that the purpose of a liberal education is to appreciate diverse views, learn how to think for oneself, and gain an appreciation for one’s social responsibility. Recent examples of dis-inviting perceived controversial figures who had been asked to speak on college campuses seems to directly fly in the face of cultivating a line of thought in the name of political correctness. Civility is a lost American value. I have previously blogged about its decline in society. Civility cultivates a civic code of... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Culture is the Support System for Ethical Decision-Making In my research of ethical programs in business I find that many organizations do not have a compliance program that adequately supports ethical decision-making. An effective corporate compliance program is an essential component of internal controls for uncovering and preventing ethical lapses... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Acting on Ethical Values the Key to Making Ethical Decisions Ethics education fails in its objective of teaching the skills necessary to make ethical decisions when it does not go far enough. The reality is in workplace situations there is a difference between knowing what the right thing to do is and doing it! Traditional ethics education focuses on the why but not the how. We teach students about philosophical reasoning methods such as Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism, but we fail to teach them an effective way to voice their values in a way that makes a difference. Ethical decision... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Hiring and keeping Millennials Happy in the 21st Century If you want to attract Millennial interest in hiring and retention on the job, ask how you can accommodate their desire to apply their social networking skills to their jobs. Beyond that, Millennials have specific needs and wants that should be... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
The Needs of the Many Outweighed by the Influence of the Few Imagine you bought a lottery ticket and won only to be told that you may not have won because delegates were assigned based on the amount of your winnings and the majority of them must vote to sanction your winnings. This just about characterizes our broken Presidential nominating system. Party faithful respond to criticisms about the unfairness of the system by saying ‘the rules are the rules and everyone must follow them.’ True enough but that misses the point that the rules are made by those with undue... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Your Social Networking Postings Can Get You in Trouble Imagine that you went on medical leave from your job and received disability benefits for more than one year after which the benefits stopped. You have no idea why. You contact the insurance representative for your employer and find out that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Free-Market Economics and the Minimum Wage Last week I blogged about the morality of raising the minimum wage. I came down on the side of the need to increase the current minimum wage of $7.25 (many states are higher). The minimum wage in 1990 was $3.80. That means it has taken fifteen years to double. The average increase is about 24 cents per year over that time period. I also recognize small businesses may be hurt the most. On the other hand, raising the minimum wage will take more people off government welfare programs and lower our annual deficit and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Social Responsibility vs. Minimization of Worldwide Taxes New Tax Inversion Rules On April 4, the U.S. Treasury Department released a new set of rules that makes it more difficult for U.S. companies to conduct tax inversions. In an inversion, a U.S. company takes a foreign address, typically through a merger... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
California's Increase in the Minimum Wage is Long Overdue California is frequently a bellwether state with respect to workplace ethics issues. Exhibit A is the recently adopted law that mandates a minimum wage of $15 by the end of 2022. Under a deal reached with state lawmakers on April 4, the state minimum wage will rise to $10.50 on January 1, 2017 for businesses with 26 or more employees. Annual hikes will result in a minimum of $15 per hour in January 2022. California is the first state to lay out a specific plan to meet the $15 per hour... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Privacy and Responsibility Standards need to be Developed In February 2012 the U.S. Congress passed the FAA Modernization & Reform Act, which created a four-year road map for the introduction of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) -- better known as “drones” — into U.S. airspace. We’re all familiar with the use... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Frank, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Narcissism has Replaced a Work Ethic Fueled by Social Media I have previously blogged about the entitlement society that has developed in the U.S. over a number of years. In a casual sense, the term "entitlement" refers to a notion or belief that one is deserving of some particular reward or benefit—if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a "sense of entitlement"). Philosophically, entitlement theory comes from the Theory of Justice. John Rawls argued that the state should have whatever powers are necessary to ensure that those citizens who are... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Ethics Sage Publishes 4th Edition of Accounting Ethics Textbook Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting: Text and Cases was written to guide students through the minefields of ethical conflict in meeting their responsibilities under the accounting professions' codes of conduct. The book is devoted to helping students cultivate the ethical commitment needed to ensure that their work meets the highest standards of integrity, independence, and objectivity. An expanded discussion of professional judgment highlights the challenges to ethical decision-making for internal accountants and auditors, and external auditors. The fourth edition incorporates a behavioral perspective into ethical decision-making that encourages students... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Developing an Effective Whistleblowing Program Does a strong workplace ethic that promotes whistleblowing enhance the moral actions by corporations? Yes, is the short answer. As we found out during the frauds at companies like Enron and WorldCom, as well as the financial recession, corrupt organizations can only be stopped through... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Virtues Underlie Workplace Behavior Writer Robert McKee famously said "True character is revealed in the choices a human makes under pressure -- the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature." This is a profound statement that I use to teach ethics to my accounting students, many of whom will face pressures in the workplace to compromise their values. Integrity forms the basis for character-based decisions because it supports virtue-based decision-making. Some people will remain composed under pressure and remain in control of the situation while others will lose control of their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2016 at Ethics Sage
Kevin, thanks for pointing out this oversight. I have re-posted the blog, done some updating to it, and specifically give credit to Eve Tahmincioglu. Here is the link: …
Sexual Harassment of Men in the Workplace Women on Man and Man on Man Sexual Harassment is a Growing Workplace Problem There is no doubt that most cases of sexual harassment involve men harassing women. For many years this has been true because of the power differential. However, as more... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
LGBT Workplace Discrimination Protections Should Extend to Transgender Individuals Workplace discrimination is wrong in any form whether based on age, sex, or sexual orientation. The law has not caught up with the rights of transgender individuals but the spirit of the law should protect trans people in the workplace. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2016 at Workplace Ethics Advice
Daniel, you make good points and I like the suggestion you made in another comment of a 25% corporate tax rate. It may be a bit too high but is better than 35%. Perhaps 20% is the 'sweet spot'.