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What Is Ethics Law?

Ethics law covers controversial scientific subjects like human cloning.
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  • Written By: Sherry Davis Zander
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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Ethics law typically regulates the moral conduct of people within a society. Businesses and governments usually must abide by certain ethical parameters or limitations that are spelled out in ethics laws. If they are violated, offenders could be held accountable for their actions and be punished by law.

The word ethics generally relates to morality, philosophy, principles, or code of conduct considered as moral behavior. Ethics law is created by humans to regulate shared ethical beliefs within a society. For instance, murder usually is viewed as both immoral and illegal. This ethics law is a general law that permeates the bulk of societies. It usually is unethical to steal from a company, which is punishable by law, as well.

Another example of an application of ethics law is the controversial ethical issue of human cloning. Human cloning has been considered unethical by the United States government and therefore is outlawed within its borders. Other countries around the world do participate in human cloning. This disparity shows how ethical views of different societies can contrast when all of humanity weighs in.

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For the most part, ethics law regulates the general population as well as businesses and governments. For example, U.S. officials are allowed a certain monetary value for gifts donated to them from lobbying groups, and they have to report each gift. There are strict requirements regarding campaign contributions to U.S. government officials, as well. Most government officials in every country have to abide by certain requirements to help protect their government's sensitive information.

Businesses and government entities are constantly dealing with ethical issues as societal norms evolve. Some ethics violations are obvious, while others must come under review for a determination. It usually is critical that ethical issues are addressed when discovered in order to maintain a framework of order before it can turn into chaos.

Some business ethics issues that can be critical to adhere to include accurate reporting of expenditures, accurate reporting of time, and protecting trade secrets. Stealing trade secrets is a federal violation in the U.S. and is punishable by law. Although intentionally inflating the reporting of time and expenditures are considered unethical, they are not punishable by law. They are considered company ethics violations. Ethics law would only apply to the stealing of trade secrets, but not to the inflated company time reporting and expenses.

Most businesses usually provide ethics training for new employees to ensure corporate ethics are honored. Government officials are provided specific documented adherence to ethics issues. Applied ethics ensures that ethics laws are not violated. It usually is considered critical to have an ethics policy in place to maintain the safety and well-being of any government or corporate entity.

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Discuss this Article

Armas1313
Post 4

Ethics and the law go hand in hand. Usually, people are only interested in making a buck or in getting ahead, even at the expense of their fellow man. The law places helpful limitations which allow for an equal opportunity for everyone, and levels the playing field, while still fostering competition.

Renegade
Post 3

@JavaGhoul

With the work of environmentalists and people concerned about the state of industry's effect on planet earth, business ethics may soon be required to "go deeper" than mere adherence to laws. This may take the form of laws, however, which require that businesses avoid pollution at any cost. It is to be hoped that industries in the third world, especially China, will continue to recognize violations of natural gas emissions laws.

JavaGhoul
Post 2

Ethics refers to treatment of workers and interaction of various businesses in terms of secrets and trust. If trust is violated, this can result in legal trouble. Businesses under a specific government know what is and isn't allowed in their code of law, and are able to successfully navigate the legal system to get what they want. Oftentimes, ethics doesn't go much deeper than that in the workplace.

BioNerd
Post 1

Companies need to recognize that there is more to work than money. This will help them to make way for family life and allowing workers to make the necessary investment in their children and in the future. When parents are denied time at home, marriages and families can fragment, resulting in a bad society. This is a good business ethic, in my opinion.

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