From what I understand, ethics is separate from legal. Legal violations have consequences, ethical violations don’t. What’s the point of ethics if there are no consequences? Sure when it’s convenient to be ethnical, everyone will be. It only matters when it’s not convenient. So should there be ethics set up with consequences like loss of job that applies evenly for everyone in the company including the CEO? Should their be financial consequences set up for smaller violations?

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How about this -- study after study shows that ethical companies outperform the market and their peers. I think it's becoming table stakes to be successful -- ethical companies inspire employees, have lower audit and regulatory costs, and attract customers who are increasingly putting their dollars to companies with values that resonate with them. With the internet, employees have a global platform to share unethical behavior by leaders, and leaders are losing their jobs and having their careers wrecked when this stuff surfaces (look at Uber and WeWork and McDonalds)....and they'll walk out and protest if they don't like what their leaders are doing (Google, Amazon).

Now, I won't tell you that it's all perfect...in the short term, sometimes it appears that unethical companies and leaders are "getting away with it" and people who speak up are hurt. In the long run, though, I'll go with leaders and companies that practice integrity.

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And on consequences for ethical violations, I agree with you...they are critical. Companies need to be serious about handing down consequences for violations of its own code (we have a range at Airbnb, from warnings to suspension without pay to demotion and termination). In the larger world sense, we are seeing more and more leaders punished for poor ethical behavior. Look at what has happened to leaders and celebrities with #metoo transgressions, or leaders from wework, uber, and so on.

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Absolutely. Look at Wall St and Big Pharma. Their only interest is in fattening the pockets for the c-suite and the wealthy few at the expense of literally everyone else.

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Also a legal violation can be an ethical violation. The better way to separate them is between ethical breaches and improper conduct. Improper conduct is normally but not always a legal or ethical violation and can be handled by HR as opposed to a legal or ethics department

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