Yesterday I visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
As a human, I was hurt by the wickedness of some and moved by the courage of others. As an ethics & compliance officer, one of the many things that struck me was how unjust the law can be. We commonly say that the rule of law is preferable to the rule of man. While that is often true, it ceases to be when man creates laws that support injustice.
There are unjust laws still today. And there are unjust policies in organizations. The ethical leader must remember that ethics is not simply a requirement that we go beyond what the law requires. It is, at times, a duty not to obey the law.
A hundred years from now, people will look back at the public laws and private policies in place today and pass judgment. What ought we to change?