Ethical Principles

The area of Ethical Principles as it relates to employment is embedded in the Common Law of the United States. The Restatement of Agency states that an agent is subject to a duty (loyalty) to her/his principal in all matters in connection with her/his agency. Further, in a Michigan court case, it has been stated that the common law imposes a duty of loyalty on employees, forbidding them from taking action contrary to the interests of their employers. [In re: Hanson, 225 B.R. 366, 375 (W.D. Mich. 1998)]

Employees are held to have a fiduciary duty to their employer. A fiduciary is defined as a person having a duty created by his/her undertaking, to act primarily for another's benefit in matters connected with such undertaking. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (1990) West Publishing Col. (page 625)]. Further, Black's states that a fiduciary duty is a duty to act for someone's best benefit, while subordinating one's personal interest to that of the other person. It is the highest standard of duty implied by the law. [Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition (1990) West Publishing Col. (page 625)]