Ethical issues are traditionally closely intertwined with legal ones. Nevertheless, it is still possible to trace the slight borderline, which distinguishes the violation of ethical norms solely from the violation of legal norms, which also imply the violation of ethical norms. In this respect, it is possible to refer to such concepts as ethical transgression and illegal act. The ethical transgression is unintended violation of existing ethical norms, which can be harmful for individuals and organizations. Instead, the illegal act is the action or inaction that violates existing legal norms.
At this point, it is possible to refer to the case of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA), whose president Frank Williams embezzled 80,000 a year (American Parkinson’s Disease Association). This was the illegal act because it violated existing legal norms and was defined as embezzlement. The effects of this illegal act also had negative ethical consequences. The embezzlement undermined the confidence of people in the APDA and they could not trust their money to the organization.
On the other hand, the ethical transgression took place in terms of scandal associated with Red Cross after 9/11. To put it more precisely, people donated money to red cross but some of the chapters entrusted with all that money had been identified by Red Cross headquarters just a few weeks before for having poor accounting procedures, inaccurate financial reports and for keeping national disaster contributions that should have been sent to headquarters in Washington (The Red Cross and September 11 Funds). To tackle the problem and regain the confidence of people in the Red Cross, the national office required that all chapters send in the money that had been received for the September 11th attacks (The Red Cross and September 11 Funds).
American Parkinson’s Disease Association.
The Red Cross and September 11 Funds.