Encourage lying?


#1

Situation as follows:

A is pregnant, but also since long time unemployed also due to having already 2 children. Has job offer, but thinks that if potential employer would know she is pregnant, the offer would be retracted. Hence, she is considering abortion, since she does not want to lie about to her future employer and knows he would not offer her the job, if he knew about pregnancy.

B, personally not understandingwhy a job could be important enough to kill ahuman being, offers with the intent that she decides against abortion, the advice that the law does not require her to tell the future employer, forbids him to ask and allows her to lie in case she is asked without consequences and that furthermore, after signing the contract the law forbids the employer to fire her till at least several months after the birth of the child (pretty nasty for employer, he expects to have a 6-month period in which he can cancel the contract, in case he realizes she isnt suited for the job, her being pregnant destroys this option). So in summary B suggest to A that she should lie in case she is asked and should not care whether this situation creates serious problems for the employer, because the law is on her side and lying is less severe than abortion.

Is B acting sinful, because instead of advising A about the wrongness of the whole idea "abortion to secure job", B aims for the result by advising her to commit a "lesser evil"?

Would A sin in lying to the employer and exploiting the legal situation, which is quite unfair for the employer?

Is lying the lesser sin compared to abortion? (after all, the lying only "saves" the child because it is endangered by the mothers desire for a job in the first place,optimally she should not consider abortion at all)


#2

Actually the proper response when a potential employer asks if you plan to have more children or if you are pregnant is " Wow, I know you wouldn't want to break the law by asking that question, so how about we just ignore it?"

Yes, I know someone that said just that. She got the job, and was 2 months pregnant with her 4th child.


#3

[quote="maryjk, post:2, topic:325999"]
Actually the proper response when a potential employer asks if you plan to have more children or if you are pregnant is " Wow, I know you wouldn't want to break the law by asking that question, so how about we just ignore it?"

Yes, I know someone that said just that. She got the job, and was 2 months pregnant with her 4th child.

[/quote]

:clapping:

This. The employer can't pursue the issue and he also can't discount the potential employee simply for not answering the question, either one would probably be enough for a lawsuit, something the employer would want to avoid.


#4

[quote="carn, post:1, topic:325999"]
Situation as follows:

A is pregnant, but also since long time unemployed also due to having already 2 children. Has job offer, but thinks that if potential employer would know she is pregnant, the offer would be retracted.

[/quote]

This has absolutely nothing to do with abortion or with lying. An employee has no obligation to tell their potential employer that she is pregnant and it's illegal for them to ask her. No dilemma here. She can accept the job offer and move on with her life, informing her employer about her ability to work (or her need for time off) on a 'need to know' basis. End of story. There is no lying or abortion to speak of.


#5

Thanks for your suggestions.

But assuming lying could not be avoided - e.g. employer tells her prior contract she would have to work in some months in a enviroment or a t a time unsuited for pregnant women, she cannot say "No, i am pregnant" and "Fine, ill do it." is a lie - what is then the situation?


#6

[quote="carn, post:5, topic:325999"]
Thanks for your suggestions.

But assuming lying could not be avoided - e.g. employer tells her prior contract she would have to work in some months in a enviroment or a t a time unsuited for pregnant women, she cannot say "No, i am pregnant" and "Fine, ill do it." is a lie - what is then the situation?

[/quote]

There is no assumption that lying could not be avoided. If the job entails working in an environment unsuited for pregnant women, then the solution is to not apply for that job. If she does apply for the job, she has to do that job while she's working unless she can trade assignments with someone else. I can't think of anything more simple about this. This is not a situation that entails lying.


#7

[quote="Rence, post:6, topic:325999"]
If the job entails working in an environment unsuited for pregnant women, then the solution is to not apply for that job.

[/quote]

You miss the condition that A is going to kill the baby to get the job. The question is, whether encouraging her to lie instead of killing the baby to get the job is sinful or not sinful.


#8

But suppose a long-standing employee becomes pregnant while at that same job. Does the employer offer accomodations for pregnant employees in that position? If so, the applicant need not reveal she's pregnant. She can accept the position and then ask for the same accomodations. If not, then lying about being pregnant doesn't do much for the pregnant woman and baby anyway, since even if she gets the job, she's in a position unsuitable for pregnant women.

To directly address your question, yes, lyring is the lesser of two evils. No, one may not encourage another person to lie, even as the lesser of two evils.


#9

[quote="nodito, post:8, topic:325999"]

To directly address your question, yes, lyring is the lesser of two evils.

[/quote]

Why?

[quote="nodito, post:8, topic:325999"]

No, one may not encourage another person to lie, even as the lesser of two evils.

[/quote]

Why not?

So a "Just take the money, do not kill me." is sinful, because the robber is encouraged to just rob and not also murder.

And, specific to the scenario about pregnancy, the law of the land forbids the employer to ask, because the state wants to keep the knowledge from him and if he nonetheless asks he can be sued. So him asking is at least in state law a form of illegal attack and the pregnant women lying is an acceptable defense, because by succesfully lying she achieves what the state anyway intends, that the employer does not know about her pregnancy. It has absolutely no effect upon the catholic consideration of the situation, that the law of the land wants to keep the knowledge from the employer?


#10

[quote=carn, post:9, topic:325999"]
Why?

[/quote]

Because lying is not as grave as killing someone.

[quote=carn, post:9, topic:325999"]
Why not?

[/quote]

Because the ends do not justify the means. Just because something is less sinful (lying vs abortion) does not mean that one can encourage it. It's still sinful to encourage someone else to lie.

[quote="carn, post:9, topic:325999"]
So a "Just take the money, do not kill me." is sinful, because the robber is encouraged to just rob and not also murder.

[/quote]

That example is something that would be said in the heat of the moment, by a panicked person who is being subject to a robbery, presumably by gunpoint. No reasonable person would construe "just take the money!" as encouragement to steal or formal participation in the act of theft. I would interpret that as a plea to avoid being shot.

In your original example, you're talking about advising someone to lie in the future. That's like someone asking you, "If I need money in the future, should I rob a bank, or shoot someone and take their wallet?" You can't advise them to do either. Both are wrong.

[quote="carn, post:9, topic:325999"]
And, specific to the scenario about pregnancy, the law of the land forbids the employer to ask, because the state wants to keep the knowledge from him and if he nonetheless asks he can be sued. So him asking is at least in state law a form of illegal attack and the pregnant women lying is an acceptable defense, because by succesfully lying she achieves what the state anyway intends, that the employer does not know about her pregnancy. It has absolutely no effect upon the catholic consideration of the situation, that the law of the land wants to keep the knowledge from the employer?

[/quote]

I just reread your original post and I think you make a number of assumptions in it that I didn't catch the first time around and wouldn't agree with. I don't believe the law gives pregnant women the right to lie to employers. I also think the intention of the state is to avoid employers discriminating against women because of their reproductive choices, and not necessarily to keep that information from them. It's a subtle difference, but I think it's important. If a woman could be sure she would not be discriminated against, for example, the law has no objection to her telling her employer she's pregnant. So if an employer asks if an applicant is pregnant, despite the law, the correct answer is something along the lines of, "I don't believe that's a legitimate interview question."

By the "Catholic consideration," I assume you mean what a Catholic ought to do. A Catholic should not lie in the situation you presented and should not advise another person to lie. The Catholic ought to do everything moral within his or her power to convince the pregnant woman to give birth to her child. Though it does makes me wonder, what kind of person is uncomfortable with lying to an employer but feels it's acceptable to have an abortion instead?


#11

[quote="carn, post:7, topic:325999"]
You miss the condition that A is going to kill the baby to get the job. The question is, whether encouraging her to lie instead of killing the baby to get the job is sinful or not sinful.

[/quote]

I didn't miss anything. There is no such condition. Abortion is so far out of the loop in this senario, that if you want to keep arguing in favor of it, you should just make up a new senario.


#12

[quote="nodito, post:10, topic:325999"]
I just reread your original post and I think you make a number of assumptions in it that I didn't catch the first time around and wouldn't agree with. I don't believe the law gives pregnant women the right to lie to employers.

[/quote]

A woman is under no obligation under the law to provide information that she is pregnant to a potential lawyer. She can tell them later when she is ready to go on materity leave, with suitable notice.

[quote="nodito, post:10, topic:325999"]

I also think the intention of the state is to avoid employers discriminating against women because of their reproductive choices, and not necessarily to keep that information from them.

[/quote]

The law is in place so that employers can't discriminate against women who are pregnant, or who plan on becoming pregnant.

[quote="nodito, post:10, topic:325999"]

It's a subtle difference, but I think it's important. If a woman could be sure she would not be discriminated against, for example, the law has no objection to her telling her employer she's pregnant. So if an employer asks if an applicant is pregnant, despite the law, the correct answer is something along the lines of, "I don't believe that's a legitimate interview question."

[/quote]

The law has no objection to a woman telling a potential employer that she's pregnant, that's her call to make. However, the employer has no right to ask.


#13

[quote="Rence, post:11, topic:325999"]
I didn't miss anything. There is no such condition. Abortion is so far out of the loop in this senario, that if you want to keep arguing in favor of it, you should just make up a new senario.

[/quote]

Whats the point about discussing what the scenario i made up implies and does not imply? She will kill the baby to secure the job.

And that its not completely out of question is because the question arose as i read about a women who probably will have in the next 2-3 weeks an abortion because of a rather similar situation (do not know her personally, hence i do not know all details).

@nodito
Its not the US law, but German law. In German legal opinion there is a consent that she is allowed to lie. No court rulings so far, because no employer is dumb enough to sue an employee for lying about pregnancy because a complete legal defeat would be certain on top of a potential serious negative public reaction.

And why not interpret the advise as a plea "do not kill your baby"?


#14

[quote="Rence, post:12, topic:325999"]
A woman is under no obligation under the law to provide information that she is pregnant to a potential lawyer. She can tell them later when she is ready to go on materity leave, with suitable notice.

The law is in place so that employers can't discriminate against women who are pregnant, or who plan on becoming pregnant.

The law has no objection to a woman telling a potential employer that she's pregnant, that's her call to make. However, the employer has no right to ask.

[/quote]

Those are exactly the points I was making. Except I see a difference between the law giving the woman the right to lie and the law protecting the woman from disclosing information that the employer has no right to know.


#15

There is never a right to lie, even to save a life. St. Augustine addresses the concept of "lying to save a life" rather bluntly when he compares it to fornicating with someone in order to prevent them from hanging themselves. You would never consider doing that he says, so why should it be any different with lying?

Also, US vs. German law doesn't matter. You are getting into the legal vs. ethical distinction. In Germany, it very well may be legal to lie about this, but it would never be ethical. In this case, the woman should just say "I'm sorry, but you have no right to ask that question." or something similar to that.


#16

[quote="StJudeprayforme, post:15, topic:325999"]
There is never a right to lie, even to save a life.

[/quote]

So A acts would be sinful.

[quote="StJudeprayforme, post:15, topic:325999"]

St. Augustine addresses the concept of "lying to save a life" rather bluntly when he compares it to fornicating with someone in order to prevent them from hanging themselves. You would never consider doing that he says, so why should it be any different with lying?

[/quote]

B does not lie. B just sees that if A lies instead of murdering, less damage is done and tries to convince A to do so instead of murdering.
It would be like someone asking in earnest "Either i kill myself or got to a prostitute now and if you say neither i kill myself, so waht should i do?"

[quote="StJudeprayforme, post:15, topic:325999"]

You are getting into the legal vs. ethical distinction. In Germany, it very well may be legal to lie about this, but it would never be ethical.

[/quote]

But the problem is, that the local law determines to some extent what is criminal and what is not criminal. If the law says "pay 25% of your income" and someone pays 20%, he is sinning. If the rate is then lowered to 20% and he continues to pay 20%, he is no longer sinning.

Same with theft, some countries might have differing laws regarding ownership of found property, some countries have differing law about to what extent in case of emergency others peoples property might be used without consent.

And in this case there is a law meant to serve the common good of protecting pregnant women and that law is specifically aimed at the employer only knowing about the pregnancy if its in the womens interest and keep the employer from acting immorally by dsicriminating against the women because of the pregnancy.
catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=242
Considering this:
"It would satisfy a well-formed conscience, I think, to permit the speaking of falsehood when it is the only means we can think of to prevent someone from committing an immoral act."

i am therefore not yet convinced it is wrong. Why cant it be seen at a sort of self defense to keep the emploer from violating the womens rights?

edit: Of course it would not be lying then, but that is just a choice of words.


#17

So B attempts to convince A to sin. Thus B becomes an accessory to sin, and commits a sin himself.

But the problem is, that the local law determines to some extent what is criminal and what is not criminal. If the law says “pay 25% of your income” and someone pays 20%, he is sinning. If the rate is then lowered to 20% and he continues to pay 20%, he is no longer sinning.

Lying is an intrinsic evil. While an individual country may make intrinsic evils not criminal, it can never make them moral. The United States allows abortions to be legal. This does not make them moral permissible. If Germany allows lying that does not make it morally permissible, it make it not criminal. There may be a right to remain silent and to say “That is none of your business”, but there is never a right to say “I am not pregnant” if you are.

Same with theft, some countries might have differing laws regarding ownership of found property, some countries have differing law about to what extent in case of emergency others peoples property might be used without consent.

Finding property on the abandoned on the road is different than actively going into a house and stealing items. As a prudential matter, local governments can legislate what constitutes abandoned goods, and in what cases there is a legitimate public interest in private goods. Local governments cannot, however, ever make the act of going into a house and stealing a painting morally permissible, though they can make it not criminal.

And in this case there is a law meant to serve the common good of protecting pregnant women and that law is specifically aimed at the employer only knowing about the pregnancy if its in the womens interest and keep the employer from acting immorally by dsicriminating against the women because of the pregnancy.
catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=242
Considering this:
“It would satisfy a well-formed conscience, I think, to permit the speaking of falsehood when it is the only means we can think of to prevent someone from committing an immoral act.”

i am therefore not yet convinced it is wrong. Why cant it be seen at a sort of self defense to keep the emploer from violating the womens rights?

edit: Of course it would not be lying then, but that is just a choice of words.

I will let Bl. Innocent XI speak for me here. He condemned the following doctrines in 1679.

The article you cited pays lip service to Innocent’s condemnation, but the conclusion seems to run entirely counter to both it, and the long tradition of Catholic moral theology.

EDIT: I am not of the opinion that it is right for the employeer to know if a woman is pregnant. I think that the woman should refuse to answer the question, and that the law should protect this. I, however, cannot believe that there is ever a morally acceptable time to lie.


#18

I find it a bit difficult to believe that a woman who was so concerned with committing a sin by lying would have no qualms about killing her unborn child. :shrug:

In any case, I think the previous posters are correct that a woman is under no obligation to answer that question in an interview. There are lots of questions interviewers aren’t supposed to ask. When preparing for an interview, one must learn the craft of the artful dodge if such questions arise.


#19

[quote="Joe_5859, post:18, topic:325999"]
I find it a bit difficult to believe that a woman who was so concerned with committing a sin by lying would have no qualms about killing her unborn child. :shrug:

[/quote]

Note the thread title "Encourage lying?". So the situation might well be, that a non-christian women who does not care in any way about abortion one way or another, decides for abortion to secure the job. A christian then suggest to her that instead of abortion, she is allowed by law to be dishonest to the employer and so can secure the job without having an abortion. Is this sinful for the christian? is the main thread question.


#20

[quote="carn, post:19, topic:325999"]
Note the thread title "Encourage lying?". So the situation might well be, that a non-christian women who does not care in any way about abortion one way or another, decides for abortion to secure the job. A christian then suggest to her that instead of abortion, she is allowed by law to be dishonest to the employer and so can secure the job without having an abortion. Is this sinful for the christian? is the main thread question.

[/quote]

Ah, I see.

I still don't see why lying would be required in this case. It's a question no woman has to answer in an interview. No lying necessary. :shrug:


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