Layoffs show ethical standards have been fired, says Cohen

On NPR, a woman told a reporter that her boss was laying off colleagues she just didn't like -- and perhaps couldn't fire legally if she told them the true reason (i.e., gender, not attractive enough, etc.) telling them "it's the economy." While this surely is the extreme end of the unethical layoff spectrum, Randy Cohen argues in his "The Moral of the Story" blog in the New York Times that all layoffs are unethical ("at least until more benign tactics have been exhausted").

I've long agreed with this concept, and seen it time and time again in big and small organizations, many to whose financials I was privy. While major contractors and management figures continue to be paid handsomely, rank-and-file workers are dismissed, handing their problems -- from putting food in their mouths, to health care, to the inevitably vesting retirement funds -- to society. Bye-bye, George in customer accounts, you can ask the state Department of Human Services to feed and care for you and your three children. Better yet, your wife can get an extra job...