Law vs. Ethics

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Philosophy Pages: 3 (828 words) Published: February 17, 2013
Law vs. Ethics

“In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics, he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.” - Immanuel Kant
Law is a “consistent set of universal rules that are widely published, generally accepted, and usually enforced.” These set of rules are required by the people in that society to follow. If these rules are violated, a higher authority has the right to enforce these laws and punish the violator. Ethics is defined by doing “what is good for the individual and for society and establishing the nature of duties that people owe themselves and one another.” A person’s behavior is defined by the moral principles that he or she governs. Law and ethics intertwine with one another and the World has set a common standard for the two. Law is stricter than ethics because the law has been established by published rules, and if they are disregarded, that person can be punished. Ethics, on the other hand, are based primarily on a person’s morals and what they believe is the right thing to do. Although that person will not be punished for doing something wrong, it could have severe consequences on that person later on and possibly many people around them.

Law and ethics overlap in purpose and/or form. Legal principles and ethical conduct are usually closely related to one another. What usually is constituted as illegal, will also be seen as unethical by the majority of people. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, ADA, states the following:

“No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”

In 1990, the ADA was passed in order to protect Americans with disabilities in the work environment. Under this law, employers are not allowed to...
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