What to Do When Your Boss Asks You to Do Something Unethical

What to Do When Your Boss Asks You to Do Something Unethical

eing asked to do something unethical by a boss is stressful. A lot of thoughts and emotions fly through your mind at once. If you don’t know what to do or where to turn, please realize that you’re not alone and you have more control over your situation than you think. Before deciding to become a whistleblower, consider the information in this post.

6 Steps to Take When Confronted with a Moral Grey Area

You have gut instincts for a reason. If you feel uncomfortable or if your boss asks you to do something you’re not comfortable doing, here’s what you should do:

  1. Pause to collect yourself

When asked to do something unethical, it’s important to pause and regain control over your emotions. Being asked to do something you don’t think is right can make you feel angry. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. You want any action you take to reflect your professionalism and maturity.

  1. Take time to understand the situation

Ask your boss for clarification or ask him to restate his or her request. It’s best to make sure you have an accurate understanding of what you’re being asked to do before you accuse someone of being unethical.

  1. Gather the facts

If after you’ve clarified your boss’s request, you still think you’ve been asked to do something unethical, start to gather the facts. Collect and document the information you think will support your case. Be sure to collect information in a legal manner.

  1. Assess your options

Seek the assistance of someone who can help you understand your options. You don’t need to act immediately, but taking small steps early on is wise.

  1. Consider potential consequences

What happens as a result of being asked to do something unethical is largely the result of how you choose to react. Consider the potential outcomes of all options before deciding what you want to do.

  1. Document everything

Anytime you speak to someone about your situation, make a note of what was discussed, who was present, and any other information you think will be valuable. Having this information usually comes in handy down the road.

2 Additional Suggestions to Keep in Mind

Now that you know what steps to take when you’re asked to do something unethical, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Don’t wait too long to respond to the situation. While it’s a good idea to proceed through the six steps outlined above at a reasonable pace, taking too long to respond can make it more difficult to challenge your boss.

Don’t Share Your Story with Everyone in the Office

No matter how upset you are with your boss, don’t share your story with everyone in the office. Follow the channels set in place to resolve the situation at hand. If that doesn’t work, consider speaking with a lawyer.

Now What?

If you’ve followed the steps outlined in this post and feel the situation has not been adequately resolved, it may be wise to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your options so you can take a stand for what’s right.