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Free Example of Legal and Ethical Debate Essay

The society is full of debates on what is legal and what is not versus what is ethical and what is not ethical. This paper focuses on the definition of what is legal and what is not legal. It also defines what is ethical or otherwise. The last part of this paper explores an issue that is considered legal but remains unethical for human interactions.

Defining Legal and Ethical. Definition of what is ethical and what is not is a hotly contested debate that often lacks objectivity as every person adopts what he or she considers relevant and favorable to his or her immediate culture, beliefs and context. However, there is consensus that what is ethical is any decision, action or opinion that conforms to the moral principles governing in a society. A personís conduct is ethical if it is in line with the moral values and principles that determine what is good for human wellbeing and existence in his or her society. This encompasses respect for human rights, conformity to societal values and norms, and protection of health and safety of other people in oneís immediate environment.

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A conduct or action is legal when it is in line with or conforms to the laws or policies that have been adopted to govern a particular society. A personís conduct is therefore defined as legal if only such an action, decision or attitude is derived from authority inscribed in the laws governing a people. If not, the action or conduct is classified as illegal. Thus, at any given time, people must interact in the society not on the basis of their selfish interests but in compliance with certain established rules that control and contains extremes of human conducts and restores a stable state of social equilibrium in society.

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A Legal but Unethical Action. There are instances when a personís conduct does not contravene any legal provisions but still viewed as unethical. In such a case, a personís action may be legal but very unethical. For example, failure to honor commitments towards a certain course may not necessarily be illegal but can often be unethical. Such instances are common in the corporate world or the work environment. For example, an employer or a boss may request an employee or his junior to work on a project that needs to be completed by a certain timeline. However, going by the normal hours of work in at the workplace, it might not be realistically possible to finish the project by the required time. The employer or supervisor may, in such a case, request the employee to sacrifice his rest and comfort to work late hours so as to finish the project before the deadline and be given time off. In an eventuality that the employee submits the work in the agreed time then he is not given time-off as was initially agreed, the conduct of the supervisor or the boss may remain legal but unethical.

The conduct of the supervisor may not have breached any legal provisions or company policies. Nonetheless, changing tact and pointing to the employee that there is a lot of work that might not allow him get his days off as was initially agreed might be tantamount to an unethical conduct. In such a case, the employee will have no option but to stick by the order to remain at work and forfeit his leave that the boss had promised. The employee will not have any legal basis to sue the boss for failing to honor his commitment. This is an example of an act that is legal but unethical.

In conclusion, the boundary between what is legal and ethical is hard to draw. There are behaviors that might be legal but quite unethical. Therefore, striking a balance between legality and ethics of human conduct remains a puzzle in almost all societies.

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