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AskReaders: What is unethical, but is extremely common practice in the business world?

We asked our regular contributors through e-mail, What is unethical, but is extremely common practice in the business world? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.

1. Claiming its taboo to talk about salaries and pay. This suppresses market knowledge of what someone is really worth. This is actually anti-free market.

– donotclickjim

2. Hiring more part-time workers instead of giving hourly workers slightly more hours to avoid giving them benefits. My former boss did that and we eventually found out her Christmas bonus was based on how much she saved on wages, benefits, etc.

– OprahNoodlemantra

3. Convenience fees for paying online. Instead of mailing in a check/money order.

– pm_me_noods_plz

4. Fake promotions. There’s a role you can apply for that doesn’t have any extra pay or benefits, in which you do the same work as the role above that (which is higher paid) in the hopes that eventually you’ll be the next in line to actually be given that next position. Except for you won’t.

– shongage

5. A company having a business model that relies on charging fees for breaking its own rules without justification for them.

– philipwithpostral

6. Hire a batch of temps as a temp to hire with the supposed idea being that you’ll be offered a permanent position at the end of the temp period with satisfactory performance. Set performance standards that are borderline physically impossible to meet. After the end of the temp period, be like “Sorry guys, can’t hire you on because you didn’t meet our performance standards.” Hire a new batch of temps.

– shitpost-scrub

7. Getting a lot more common in my industry is hiring interns all the time. After their few months of training, they get replaced by next batch. With the shortage of jobs and need for experience, many people fresh out of college will happily work for free to gain experience.

– hmfiddlesworth

8. Using your employment as leverage to keep your mouth shut.

– ViciousKnids

9. Nominal weights and measures that don’t match actual weights and measures. My company sells by the each but each item has a nominal weight. We intentionally produce our product approximately 10% light to save raw material costs.

– Elan9

10. Comcast’s pricing strategy where they raise the price an absurd amount from one month to the next and just hope customers aren’t paying attention or too passive to complain.

– Negative_Goodwill


4 Comments

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  • #1 I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to prevent employees from discussing salary, but I’ve been explicitly told I’ll be fired if I do it.

  • When you buy a 1-year magazine subscription and after the 1-year subscription is over, the magazines keep coming, along with harassing bills.

  • NHS Workers Misdiagnose people in order to meet their Managerial Targets/ Quotas. It ruins people’s lives and can hound them into an early grave. Some illnesses look exactly the same as someone with a valid complaint, and so these tragedies can stretch on over decades.

  • Retail deliveries that give you a time window.

    Charging more for a less convenient item.
    Inconveniencing someone who is late.

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