Often, it is very difficult to take ethical decisions in business. In this respect, the case of Hal is particularly noteworthy since he faced a dilemma either to deceive the company he has been working for and, therefore, cause harm to shareholders, or to reveal the truth about the mistake committed by the CEO and CFO and reveal his inability to prevent its negative outcomes for the company and, therefore, put under a threat his own future in the company. In this respect, the ethical decision taken by Hal may be based different ethical theories, including the Utilitarian theory.
In terms of the Utilitarian theory, Hal’s actions should be based on the principle of the utility and the least harm his actions can cause him and his family. In such a context, the decision of Hal to burn the midnight oil seems to be quite logical and justified. It is obvious that the mistake of the CEO and CFO cannot be corrected. Consequently, if this mistake is reveal he will more likely to lose his job or, at least, have serious troubles. Anyway, his future in the company will be under a threat.
However, he cannot lose his job because, at the moment, he has spent all his savings on the new house, while his wife is pregnant and needs total bed rest and medical bills to pay. Thus, any troubles or even the loss of the job by Hal may threaten to the health and life of his wife and his yet unborn child. In such a situation, he cannot take risk and his decision to burn oil may be ethically justified from the utilitarian point of view.