Skip to main content
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

A Sinking Situation

Clare Bartlett

Roscoe is the head of engineering at a systems engineering company. His company has been contracted by a company, U-sub, to make firing assemblies for torpedoes. This contract calls for additional safety testing to ensure that the systems work properly.

The contract stipulated that it was the responsibility of Roscoe’s company to pay for this expensive additional testing. However, the CEO reminds Roscoe that their company is in financial trouble and asks Roscoe to skip the extra testing and falsify the paperwork by saying that the testing had occurred and that the systems passed. He then goes on to tell Roscoe that if he doesn’t sign off on the testing, he will be fired.

Roscoe decides he cannot give in to his boss’s demands and quits. However he suspects that his former boss will promote someone else who will be willing to sign off on the testing.

Should Roscoe report the ethical violations of his former company?

Clare Bartlett was a 2014-2015 Hackworth Fellow in Engineering Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

August 2015

Aug 26, 2015