about ethical breaches

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Most businesses have a fixed code of ethics that employees are expected to obey. Employees are required to report any legal breaches they encounter at work. Anonymous hotlines have emerged as a means for workers to track inappropriate behavior. Wells Fargo, a respected financial and banking services firm, recently violated the code of ethics. According to Egan (2016), Wells Fargo fired 5,300 workers for creating bogus accounts and developing forged bank card pin numbers. While the company did the right thing having discharged the perpetrators, those who tried to report the illegal activities previously were dismissed from office as well.

The stakeholders that were affected the most were the employees, since those who refused to engage in the tactics and resorted to whistleblowing were discharged for following their code of ethics. Given that those who followed the instructions of their branch managers and went ahead engaging in the illegal activities also lost their jobs, Wells Fargo did not approach the issue ethically. The company created the code of ethics and required employees to abide by them. Therefore, firing those who tried to follow the code of ethics was not right. Such practice can discourage other employees from reporting illegal activities in the company because of the fear of being fired.

This case is noteworthy because the company tried to degrade the very code of ethics that it created for its employees while it should have upheld its provisions. Firing those who are following the ethical standards set by the organization is not justifiable.


Egan, M. (2016, September 21). I called the Wells Fargo ethics line and was fired. CNN Money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/21/investing/wells-fargo-fired-workers-retaliation-fake-accounts/

December 21, 2022


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