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Blair Looney, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Central California.

Dear Action Line: I work at a moving company and assist with the transport of furniture, appliances and other home decor items. On a recent job, I was transporting a dining room table with the help of a new hire and we dropped the table on the cement. One of the legs of the table broke and the table collapsed to the ground.

I called my boss, the owner of the moving company, and explained the situation. The owner told me to repair the table with the tools we had in the work truck, and to not tell the customer about the occurrence. Although I didn't feel comfortable with the request, I still followed orders and fixed the table with the help of our new hire. I could sense that our new hire was also not comfortable with the request, but we didn't talk about the situation and continued with our job.

The new hire is a hard worker and is a big help on the job site. Should I have discussed the situation with my coworker?

I have moved my fair share of home decor, and understand that moving large furniture can be difficult.

Ethical behavior can bring significant benefits to a business. For example, they may:

* Attract customers to the firm's products, and as a result boost sales and profits

* Increase employee retention by making employees want to stay with the business, reduce labor turnover, and as result increase productivity

* Attract more employees to apply for work at the business and reduce recruitment costs

* Receive public recognition for demonstrating exceptional ethical behavior, such as at the upcoming Better Business Bureau Ethics Awards

Unethical behavior, by comparison, may damage the reputation of the business and the workers involved in the ethical problem. Stakeholders and customers also tend to stay away from unethical businesses.

When management does not pay attention to ethical issues, staff can be distracted by ethical concerns. This distraction can cause loss of productivity and thus increase business costs.

Employee retention and recruitment can be hurt by the ethical lapses of employees. Confusion and resentment are likely to develop when there are no clear ethical guidelines for management and workers.

The bottom line is it's good business to be ethical. Employees will choose a business that displays high ethical standards and customers return to businesses that serve them honestly.

-- Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or