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John is a middle aged executive for a small company. They treat him well, but, unfortunately, cannot pay what he believes he is worth. Recently, he applied to a large international corporation for an executive position. After a phone interview, which went well, the prospect employer set up an interview at their corporate offices. They then e-mailed John a series of questions which would be part of their second interview. Surprisingly, there were several questions as to what cable television news shows he regularly watches and the magazines and/or subscriptions he receives either online or through the mail.
John considers himself an independent and does not belong to any one party. He, however, favors cable news shows that are considered liberal and receives an online subscription to The New Republic and New Yorker. If he admits to this information, he worries he will be “painted” as a liberal, a radical, or at least an intellectual. Although this information should NOT be important to his future job, the company would not ask these questions unless they had a reason for this information.
Therefore, John decides to lie to the interviewing committee and indicate he rarely watches cable news shows and mostly watches the sports networks and the movie channel with his wife.
Is John’s conduct wrong? Is it unethical to lie to obtain employment when you know the provided information will not affect your work product? After he is hired, should he “confess” he watches some cable news shows?
What do you do? What are your choices?