QUESTION: Provide an example of an action that is legal but not ethical and one that is ethical but
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Legal but not ethical:
I give a person a certain amount of money that is definitely legal. Later I ask him for a favor of some
kind, I’m one step from being a slug. This is totally legal but when a person betrays me this
unethical. Keeping money that someone dropped is legal, but again, many would find it unethical.
The death penalty is also legal in many states, but a multitude of individuals consider it unethical.
Smoking cigarettes in public are-legal in some places, but some may find it disrespectful and
unethical. Abortion is legal in some places, but many consider it unethical.
Ethical but illegal:
I can think of would be actions such as those by “Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr and others” that
connect in acts of civil defiance against unfair laws. For instance, refusing to sit at the back of a bus
or being refused service at a white only counter. Taking a child away from an abusive parent when
you are not directly related to the saidchild. Digging up someone’s grave because they wanted to be
cremated but were buried instead. Talking on the phone to your friend who is having a panic attack
while driving to where they are. In some places: allowing a teenage girl an abortion and thereby
saving both her life and that of her future child. Seeing someone who is in critical condition at the
hospital whom you care deeply about but aren’t directly related to.
The Business Ethics Blog. (2019). What’s Legal Isn’t Always Ethical. [online] Available at:
https://businessethicsblog.com/2011/12/22/whats-legal-isnt-always-ethical/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
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