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Mr. Ethics - October 2016

Posted By Mr. Ethics, Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Mr. Ethics,


We are going through a code of ethics violation complaint investigation in our office.  One of our estimators told us that another estimators discussed a bid with a competitor at a local association meeting.  As our investigation progressed we could not find any support for the complaint.  We advised the accusing estimator we were unable to find any evidence to support the claim and were going to discontinue the investigation.  The estimator said he understood because he really did not hear the other estimator’s conversation.  He saw the estimator talking to the competitor and just assumed he disclosed bid information because we lost the contract the next day. The question we are wrestling with is whether we need to disclose this information to the accused estimator and start an ethics action against the accuser.  The fallout that could occur by taking either or both actions seems to not worth the trouble.


Regards, Ethics Investigator


Dear Investigator,


I am sure that one of your ethical canons references the making of false accusations.  In my opinion I do not think you have a choice but to consider the accuser’s actions to be a potential ethical violation.  I know it may have a chilling effect on people reporting potential ethical violations in the future but everyone needs to know that accusing another of an ethical violation is a serious action and they need to make sure they are not violating a canon.  I also think it is essential you discuss this with the accused individual.  It appears there are some underlying issues between these two (2) employees that needs to be ferreted out and resolved.


Regards, Mr. Ethics.

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