13 February 2009

Price-tag of Integrity

Let's say a company is hired to perform inspections in a plant. The regulation states that each applicable component must be inspected monthly under an established protocol. There is roughly 40,000 components that must be inspected. There is a data base that is maintained with all the inspections and all this data is auditable by a a regulatory agency.

The supervisor does a random audit and finds 50 components were not inspected at all. The components were found after the end of the month. He sends inspections teams out and they inspect the components but by the regulation they are late.

Facts to be considered: The inspections are purely for pollution reasons. No one could get physically harmed from missing the inspections. The fines associated with the inspections are $5,000 per component.

The supervisor has a few choices here. He can report the missed inspection to the customer and they can hope it isn't found in an audit. He can not report it and hope it isn't found in an audit or he can backdate the inspection and lie on the report.

If he falsifies the documents he is not doing it for person gain, he is saving his customer from a potential fine, possible contract loss and firing a bunch of people. Is he justified in falsifieing the documents?


Francis W. Porretto said...

The answer to such a question will depend upon one's basic moral premises. To wit: If one holds that deceit is always absolutely wrong, then the inspector must refrain from falsifying the documents. On the other hand, if one is grounded in Christian teaching, which condemns not deceit but bearing false witness against your neighbor, then falsifying the report isn't just "not wrong;" it comes near to being a moral imperative.

I believe that the Second Great Commandment requires us to defend one another from predation -- including government and government-assisted predation. Or, as Jesus might have said had He not had to rush off to an appointment, "...and by the way, I don't own anything that's Caesar's."

And welcome to the Eternity Road blogroll!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the add. I was surprised to be listed under Eclectic but i take that as a compliment. I would like to think i am more catholic though.