Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wal-Mart Ethics Code Angers Germans

Wal-Mart Ethics Code Angers Germans Germany Deutsche Welle

Those awful Americans and their antiquated ideals of ethics. The Nerve!

The German subsidiary of the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has again infuriated employees, this time over policies that workers believe interfere with their private lives and force them to spy on colleagues.

Often mistrusted for its American corporate culture, the German subsidiary of Wal-Mart has once again stuck its foot in it. Employees of the 92-store discount chain received a moral lecture along with their February paychecks: a code of ethics employees must follow or face termination, the Financial Times Deutschland reported Tuesday.

The code forbids Wal-Mart employees from accepting presents from suppliers, dictates that employees may not fall in love with a colleague in a position of influence and requires workers to report colleagues immediately "if they observe that they have broken the rules." Non-compliance of the rules can lead to termination.

Translation problems
The German management of the company said they adopted the code after increasing requests by their American counterparts to do so. Still, representatives of employees say they will fight the code through the courts. The company declined comment.

Employee's rights expert Manfred Confurius told the Financial Times Deutschland that US employees face more concrete and stronger restrictions, something that doesn't always transfer well to German work culture.

"Such ethic codes should, in general, be voluntary," he said.

Why this is just awful. Imagine that? Requiring employees to report possible theft by another employee. Isn't that what you would normally expect in an American company? I don't know about you but that's what I would expect.

What can you say but "oh those wacky Germans" or how about the decline of ethics in Europe has reached it's lowpoint. This could be why France, Germany and most of the UN saw nothing wrong with the bribery, sale of weapons to Saddam and complicity with Saddam entrenched the European countries. Well, as we all know, (~snark alert~) the Arab street can't really handle democracy anyway so the Euro's may as well support dictators (ala Saddam and Castro...et al).


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