Refuse politely, pointing out that if the product goes to market with imperfections, it will fail and consumers will never trust the company again. Insist that it is wiser to invest in making the product better than to pretend it isn’t. Go all the way to the CEO if you have to. And if you can’t convince them, you shouldn’t be working for them, anyway.
Well, that’s hard to say. You certainly should examine the company’s ethical standards before signing on. Business decisions sometimes hurt others. For example, if you go to work for a chain of pharmacies that are really great (good service, low prices) and the co. decides to put a new pharmacy in an area where all the other pharmacies are not so good (poor service, high prices), undoubtedly some of those bad pharmacies will go out of business – people will lose money and their jobs. They will be hurt. But they aren’t hurt by the success of YOUR company – they are hurt by the poor management of their own. On the other hand, if your business suddenly decides to make a profit through a legal means that is opposed to Catholic teaching – abortion or human cloning, for example – then you are obliged to resign.
The EPA usually will take care of that for you. Make yourself an expert on regulations, and if your company makes a move that will hurt the environment, you can bring the EPA regulations to the attention of your superiors all in the name of looking out for your company.
Again, this is something that should be in the corporate ethical standards. If the company doesn’t have a standard of honesty, don’t work for them. If they do and you are asked to lie, then tell them you are loyal to the company’s ethical standards for honesty and won’t do it, but you have thought of 1-2 alternatives that will handle the situation without lying.
Keep in mind that if you ever lose your job for standing up for what’s right, it’s not a bad thing. I used to work for a large insurance company and my boss asked me to lie on an application for a certain certification our company wanted (not mandatory to the business, but a good recruitment thing). I refused. He assigned another person to complete the application, and she happily lied. However, he underestimated the CEO, who was no dummy. When the application went to the CEO for his signature, he read every word (like I said, no dummy!). He hauled my boss into his office and demanded an explanation for the lie. My boss quite honestly said that I had been assigned to complete the application, conveniently leaving out the fact that I had refused to lie so he made somebody else do it.
I was put on probation for 30 days, and my boss made my life miserable. I kept very good records during that time and I also started to look for another job. At the end of the 30 days, he was required to sign a paper saying I was off probation, but he hid for three days so he didn’t have to. On the fourth day, he came into work 45 minutes late, but I was sitting in his office with the paperwork waiting for him.
“What are you doing here?”
“You need to sign my paperwork so I can turn it into HR”
“You’re still on probation.”
“Yes, sir, until you sign the paperwork.”
“But you violated the probation.”
“You were late to work today.” (How could he have known that? He was late himself!)
“Sir, I think you must be mistaken. I signed in three minutes ahead of time.”
“No, you were late.”
“No, sir. We can go check with the security guard right now. I signed in three minutes early.”
“You are contradicting me.”
“I am offering a correction for whatever bad information your received, because I was not late.”
“You were late.”
“And you are contradicting me, which is a violation of your probation.”
“Perhaps we should arrange a meeting with HR to figure this out, because this situation is getting quite confusing.”
When I walked into the HR meeting, I had a thick CYA folder of evidence of all the unethical things my boss had done or asked me to do, plus all the mistreatment I had suffered during my probation, plus a photocopy of the sign-in sheet that showed I was on time. As I was sitting in my chair, my boss fired me. I looked at the HR person, who seemed just as surprised as I was, and said, “I thought this was a mediation session.”
“No,” my boss said. “You are fired.”
Again to the HR person, I said, “But this meeting is supposed to help us work things out.”
“I’m sorry,” the HR person said, “but you’ve been fired and I am no longer at your service. I’ll get your dismissal papers.”
Obviously when he saw my file, my boss knew I had evidence against him and his only option was to fire me on the spot before I could spill it. Was it fair? No. And I didn’t have a job lined up. I was frightened and devastated. How could that happen when I was standing up for what was right?
But in the long run, I did get a much better job where I wasn’t asked to do unethical things and I have never for a moment regretted the fact that I wasn’t working for that jerk of a boss any more.