RESPONSIBLITY FOR BOSS THAT INFLATES HOURS
QUESTION 73: RESPONSIBLITY FOR BOSS THAT INFLATES HOURS
Am I responsible, in any way, if my boss bills my time for hours
that are inflated? How obligated am I to make sure that my boss
does not inflate my hours?
Ideally a person should really double check on what the boss
does, to see that he doesn't inflate what you wrote. It's
something you're achroi (responsible) for - watching the honesty
of the people that are close to you. But double-checking has its
limits. If you start snooping on what the boss does, you're
undertaking a type of tochacha (chastisement) - hoche'ach tochi'ach
es amisecha (you should surely chastise your friend) - which is
admirable, but self-destructive.
The obligation to mochi'ach (chastise) or to investigate is
limited to situations that could put one into trouble. If
a person knows about some real wrongdoing, he may be obligated
to do something about it, or at least not to cooperate or go
along with it. But if you don't know about it, you're not
mechuyav (obligated) to be a detective, or to suspect others
of wrongful behavior.
If you find out, somehow, that your boss is inflating the bill,
what should you do about it?
You should fill out every line on your itemized time report that
you hand in, and make a copy for yourself. Then that the temptation
for him to inflate would probably be reduced, because he sees that
you have a copy and he's afraid that what he writes will get into
your hands and you'll notice the discrepancy. So that's a safeguard.
Sometimes a person sees a doctor for a twenty-minute visit, and then
he sees the copy of what the doctor sent in which shows seven operations
and a thousand dollars worth of medicine, and who knows how many
diseases he invented on your behalf. In that case you have to tell
him, "I'm sorry, but I can't go along with this."
But when it comes to a boss, you've got to be a little discreet.
There's no question at all that you can't allow something openly
fraudulent to be billed in your name. But on the other hand, you're
not mechuyav (obligated) to mochi'ach (chastise) the boss if he's
doing something in his own name in relation to your activity. If it's
not said in your name, but if he puts it down on his own, and doesn't
sign your name to it - he doesn't claim it in your name - then you're
not really mechuyav to be mochi'ach him.
But I'll tell you a good piece of advice. If you're working for
somebody that is dishonest, then you should keep an eye open to
look for a different position. Because if right now he's cheating the
insurance company, or he's cheating the government, the next person
he's going to cheat is you. So it's just practical advice not to
stay around there too long. Besides, you could learn to do a lot
of these things, and adopt this way of life. It's a very big yetzer
hora (evil inclination). There's no such person who only cheats
one person. Such a person doesn't exist. Cheating only one person
is as real as Mickey Mouse. A person who cheats one person will
cheat another one, and another one. And why should you think that
you are immune? You, the employee, are much easier to cheat than
the insurance company.
What happens if your client says: "Your firm claims you put in
five hours, while you mentioned that you worked three hours."
In that situation, what do you say to the client?
You could tell the client, "I'm sure that there may have been
other time spent than the actual time that I recorded. It must
be so, because my own recollection is that it was less than that.
But if you would check with my boss, I'm sure he would explain it
to you." If you say it in such a tam (innocent) way, and sound so
innocent and trusting, probably your boss will notice, and it will
put him on his toes.
What if a person inflates his hours not because of money, but
because it makes a more favorable impression on the boss?
One of the worst nisyonos (tests) can be to make yourself look
better than what the reality is. Giving yourself a better image
can even be more of a temptation than earning a few extra dollars.
But when you give yourself a false image and you portray yourself
to people as being different than you are, then you are cheating
them, and paving the way for a precipitous drop into a world of
make-believe and falsehood.
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 74: OVERCHARGING FOR ACCESSORIES
I have an opportunity to work for an online sales company.
Here's how their business works: They post a price on their
website which is below wholesale. When a customer calls in,
a salesperson tries to sell the customer high-priced accessories
for the product. For example, a product costs $200 at wholesale
and $300 at retail. This company will charge $180, which is
much less than any of its competitors' prices. Then they will
sell accessories that normally cost $20 for $65 each. If they
sell the customer three or four accessories they make a nice
profit. Their undercharging for the main product is offset
by overcharging - ona'ah -- for the accessories. If the customer
does not buy accessories, the company won't ship the product
because they would lose money. Can I accept this position,
which pays very well? I could use the money.
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