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Questioning my Morality

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Old 06-12-2014, 07:47 PM   #1
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I'm feeling very vulnerable by putting this out there so I hope people can remain respectful.

I'm a licensed Cosmetologist and I like my job. I have great hours and a large clientele that I worked very hard for over a year to build. Some of you may remember that my previous career as a dental assistant was a living nightmare so I was more than thrilled to quit and back to my original profession. I paid hundreds of dollars to reactivate my license and had to go through a huge pain in the @ss process but it was worth it.

However.....

I found out that two of my co-workers aren't licensed which is a huge violation plus one is here on an expired Visa. Yes, the owner is aware and from what I have been told the owner has allowed this many times. Reporting this will backfire by temporarily (or permanently) shutting down business. I would be out of a job along with everyone else. People have kids to feed including myself.

I'm feeling icky about the whole thing because it's wrong but I don't want to lose everything I have worked for and have to start over.. I wish I did not ever find out this information. There is also no way for me to collect phone numbers from my clients without being overheard.

My last job I had to turn a blind eye on insurance fraud and now this. Ignorance truly is bliss. FML.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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Always tricky with moral issues but you could try to think of it in terms of real stuff and not just meeting oftentimes stupid bureaucratic laws and regulations.

I mean are the girls really hurting anyone and who? Is it just the government who collects fees for these things or is it the customers who are at a great risk?

Do you feel that the unlicensed girls customers are at risk of disease, death or injury. If so, then i'd say its a serious matter and you should do something.

Are they doing a good job? Or is their work shoddy and less than it would be if they had the papers.

But if you think the issue is just a question of paperwork and not paying their dues to the government, then really is it such a big deal worth messing up people's lives for?

Of course whatever you decide you have to live with the consequences too. If you were to report them and despite everything that happened to those girls you felt you'd still done the right thing, then you should probably go ahead but if you reported them and felt regrets after it might not be a good idea to take this further.

If you decide you don't want to report but continue to feel uncomfortable, you might want to change jobs.

Governments set up these license requirements to protect customers but they charge a lot of money to oversee things and its not a foolproof system either.

I would feel somewhat like you in that i'd prefer not to know such things but you do know and you have to figure whether you can live with the knowledge doing nothing or something? Think about it in terms of what's best for you and the welfare of the customers.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:59 AM   #3
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Hmm that is a dilemma. I'm not bothered about the expired Visa bit. However, not being licensed, that's icky. Are they working towards their license? Doesn't your license have to be displayed? If I were in your position I would not think about this at all, unless you have to work directly with them on a client. As long as you build your relationship with your clientele you have nothing to worry about, you've got your license and are therefore covered in the case of something gone wrong. This is not your place of business, this is the owner's problem, she could get into serious trouble if something happens, but not you!

Leave it alone, there's nothing that will come from this that will benefit you in the long run. If you report them and the place gets shut down you're out of a job, what do you have to gain by having everyone licensed in there? It's their problem, what would you be fixing?
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:08 AM   #4
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I salute you for wrestling with your morality!
If turning a blind eye bothers you, that's likely to eat away at you in subtle and cumulative ways over time. Is it possible to look for another setting that meets your standards? You would probably be more peaceful and enjoy your work more.

Unethical practices hurt the entire profession. Licensure is most definitely not an empty bureaucratic procedure, imho, as someone in a licensed profession too. Too many people are harmed by irresponsible practices in their quest to look better. Often these involve services provided by unlicensed people. Licensure is how consumers have a fighting chance to know they are in safe hands as it is based on standardized criteria of education, training, guidelines & safety regulations.

Feeding your family and yourself is a priority, probably the top one. Being able to look in the mirror with a clear conscience is pretty high, too, at least for some. Is there absolutely no way to recruit quietly? If no, spread your wings and fly higher to somewhere that meets your standards. Sending good wishes your way.

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Old 06-13-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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I'm not going to do anything. I guess I'm irritated because I had to pay hundreds of dollars to restore my license to get a job. I had to go through the correct process of interviews plus doing a technical to prove I can do a good job, as well as provide a copy of my license and proof of SS#...why not the same protocol for everyone? Because the owner can pay them below us.

Yes, you have to have your license displayed so it's only a matter of time before someone catches on. Are they working towards getting a license? Not really. One failed the state exam and the other let it expire and there's no rush to correct it since the owner doesn't care. This is something the owner has allowed numerous times.

If/when the owner does get caught we may be shut down. I guess that's the gamble I'm taking. I feel like telling the owner thanks a lot for putting all of our jobs in jeopardy. And they wonder why I won't take a management position lol I don't want any part of it.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:46 AM   #6
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novangel, would you feel better to try and persuade your colleagues to get licensed? You could maybe offer to coach them for the exam. After all, they would be paid more. Maybe they feel terrified by exams, etc. Even if it doesn't happen, you might not feel quite so cynical~At least you'd have tried to solve the issue and they would know where you stand. You've given so much good feedback and advice on the forum. You would make a godd coach/motivator/agent of positive change.

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Old 06-13-2014, 11:51 AM   #7
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It's very unfair at the least and you're right, your boss is putting all of you in jeopardy. She is the root of this problem but since it's her neck on the line there's not much you can do. Can you stay and quietly search out another place to work? Eventually the resentment will build up and since it's not your problem to solve it will eat away at you.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Why are you not allowed to collect the contact information from your clients? Are they your clients or not?

You should have an email and phone number for every client you have.

I'm a bit confused.

Regarding your situation you're not under any moral obligation to report their lack of license or expired visa unless you think their lack of license is somehow putting their clients at risk.

You may be under a legal obligation to report but I doubt it.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Unethical practices hurt the entire profession. Licensure is most definitely not an empty bureaucratic procedure, imho, as someone in a licensed profession too. Too many people are harmed by irresponsible practices in their quest to look better. Often these involve services provided by unlicensed people. Licensure is how consumers have a fighting chance to know they are in safe hands as it is based on standardized criteria of education, training, guidelines & safety regulations.

Feeding your family and yourself is a priority, probably the top one. Being able to look in the mirror with a clear conscience is pretty high, too, at least for some. Is there absolutely no way to recruit quietly? If no, spread your wings and fly higher to somewhere that meets your standards. Sending good wishes your way.
Thanks.

I agree that I will probably need spread my wings higher at some point. This job has been a great experience to get back into cosmetology again after being out 15 years.

We shall see.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:32 PM   #10
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Why are you not allowed to collect the contact information from your clients? Are they your clients or not?

You should have an email and phone number for every client you have.

I'm a bit confused.
I work for a franchise/corporation. Patrons can request a specific stylist but "stealing" their clients is a no-no. It's different when you rent a chair or work in privately owned, then they are all yours.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:47 PM   #11
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Report it to the licensing board, they're the ones who handle disciplinary sanctions and potential criminal investigations about licensure issues. I sit on a licensing board (AK Pharmacy) and know how important it is that the regulations and statutes relating to the profession are followed. This first for consumer safety and second for the safety and protection, legally, of the practitioner. Nobody is being helped by this situation persisting and if you are licensed I would bet my bottom dollar there is a clause in your state's statues and regs that you have a duty to report unlawful acts relating to the profession to the overseeing board. It's like a good moral character clause - every board has them. And at least in pharmacy I know coworkers and bosses have been fined and had licenses revoked for knowing and not reporting unlawful acts relating to the profession - it didn't just affect the person who was violating statute or reg.

Now maybe I'm just too by-the-book but as unfortunate as the temporary fallout of this might be, it's pretty cut and dry what acting with integrity would look like in this situation. I'm sorry you've been put in this spot by your boss and coworkers, but you may be pleasantly surprised how this is handled if it is dealt with promptly. If you are paying booth/chair fees it's likely you may be able to remain working while this is handled, or have legal recourse for work stopped overly long.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:48 PM   #12
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I work for a franchise/corporation. Patrons can request a specific stylist but "stealing" their clients is a no-no. It's different when you rent a chair or work in privately owned, then they are all yours.
Just saw this. It's not an ideal work agreement for you, bummer
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:51 PM   #13
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Hmm that is a dilemma. I'm not bothered about the expired Visa bit. However, not being licensed, that's icky. Are they working towards their license? Doesn't your license have to be displayed? If I were in your position I would not think about this at all, unless you have to work directly with them on a client. As long as you build your relationship with your clientele you have nothing to worry about, you've got your license and are therefore covered in the case of something gone wrong. This is not your place of business, this is the owner's problem, she could get into serious trouble if something happens, but not you!

Leave it alone, there's nothing that will come from this that will benefit you in the long run. If you report them and the place gets shut down you're out of a job, what do you have to gain by having everyone licensed in there? It's their problem, what would you be fixing?
Leaving it alone might not be an option. If there is an investigation and it comes out that supervisor or other licensed employee knew the situation and didn't report it in a timely fashion their own license can be on the line as well.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:06 PM   #14
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Hi, when in a situation where you feel u ci fortable because of work ethic, there is only one solution, find another job before the sh...... hits the fan.

If your boss allows unlicensed people to work for him and pay people under the table that show some lack of professionalism on his part and dishonnesty toward his clients.

Find something else then tell him why you are leaving.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:50 PM   #15
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I don't agree that just because its the law that its necessarily the more moral course. The law allows all sorts of immoral things. And bureaucratic regulations are a one size fits all solution to a more complex reality. Sure in pharmacy, its pretty critical. But where are all the protective measures with regards to dietary and naturopathic supplements. They hardly exist.

The law and morality are not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination.

Secondly, in a situation like pharmacy, yes its pretty critical but in cosmetics i hardly think so. Often times these regulations are set up to protect the industry from competition. Yes it does ensure higher standards for the most part but it also serves to keep small operators out when in fact small operators can often do a better job, provide a better service of product than big operators. Probably getting away from the nature of your particular industry but...

It doesn't even really sound like a moral issue for the OP. She's mainly feeling resentment that she has spent the money and taken the trouble to do it by the book, and others have so far got away with not spending the money.

But OP you have a guilt free conscious and for me that counts for a lot. Those girls live with the worry of always being found out and losing their jobs. The boss is evidently someone who doesn't have much of a conscience.

As for stealing clients. You could surreptitiously hand out business cards to your clients and tell them you want to go it alone or move on soon. In the real world, i think people do this all the time. But give them to your most trusted clients because you never know, one or two of them might tell the boss or another of your colleagues. The big no-no about doing this is to protect your bosses business. Bosses say all sorts of things that work in their favour and suck you in to feeling bad if you don't look after their interests above your own. But for the most part they only care about your interests so long as their are not being affected.

Do what you can live with but acting on a basic feeling of resentment is not a good idea.

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