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★Ethical question

I haven’t been around for a while, hello and I hope you’re doing well. Do you mind if I share a problem?
I’ve recently started in a new position with same firm I’ve worked at for 6 years. I like the role and am still on a steep learning curve. Part of my job is doing the payroll. I’ve been asked to pay an employee in an arrangement which is basically illegal – ie split income with spouse. My boss who I’ve always respected to a degree, just says other people do it so it’s no big deal. I feel uncomfortable, I haven’t had to process the pay yet, but am dreading it. I wonder if I can get in to trouble if this is ever uncovered, even though I’m just following orders. What would you do in my situation. I’m reaching out because I don’t want to speak to anyone who knows my firm. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble because they are people I like, even though this is highly dodgy. Hope the authorities aren’t listening to this post, I’m feeling paranoid.

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there” Will Rogers

Hi Vivi is ???

There’s no question that you should stay well away from this, especially if you suspect it’s wrong…..and I think you know it. You clearly have a conscience and it will eat you alive if you go against it. Getting permission to do something you know is wrong, will still be wrong. Sometimes being a goody-two-shoes is not just a matter of doing what you’re told is it? It’s hard; I know it and no matter how much it ruffles your feathers, stand your ground and listen very carefully to your subconscious wisdom; it’s there for a reason. People, so it is said, who go against their subconscious wisdom or instinct have been known to be driven mad by it. I beg you, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong no matter how small the indiscretion. Expediency is no excuse, nor is the quiet life; your chancers might thank you but you will have to live with it. No way.



Act positively, in the moment, with one eye on tomorrow. Freerace.

I agree with freerace. You are between a rock and a hard place. I think it’s time to have a real conversation with your boss. Explain to him how you feel about it. I think if you “go along” it is going to bother you. Also, I think you ought to document what is going on right now. Write down what is being said. Not in front of him, but later when you get home. This would be smart just in case. I suspect you are nervous about the situation and are reluctant to have a conversation, but I think it’s necessary. Perhaps he could move you back to your old position or something. Actually, I think you ought to go ahead and document what has happened so far before you have the conversation. Use dates and times in your documentation. If he is doing something that is illegal he will be nervous about being exposed. He will either back off his position or pressure you in some way. Either way your relationship will change. I don’t see any way around it. If you wanted to be “really” cautious you could document what is going on and seal it in an envelope and mail it to an attorney. You can instruct your attorney not to open the letter, but to file it just in case. That gives you rock solid “proof” that you can turn to if the situation gets really bad. You may feel you are in a weak position, but you are not if you do this. If he gets ugly about it, you can set him straight. I don’t envy you your position. On a bmindful note, what are you supposed to be learning from all of this?

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
— Gandalf, J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m Alright
Life Less Ordinary

Thank you so much Freerace and MCM for your thoughtful replies. I am going to face it tomorrow and 1st ask the employee in question to consider his request, and if he doesn’t back down I’m going to have to have that exceedingly difficult conversation with my boss. My boss is an expert communicator and can run rings around anyone which is what I’m scared of. It is quite likely he’ll railroad the conversation and make it seem like I’m in the wrong. Here’s a learning exierience for me on a platter me thinks. it’s time for me to stop being a doormat. I’m no junior employee so I really have to stand up for myself. Thanks so much.

“Even if you’re on the right track – you’ll get run over if you just sit there” Will Rogers

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