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Author Topic: Ethical Question - Not Kite Related  (Read 1765 times)
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brettgrant99
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« on: September 09, 2010, 12:29 PM »

Over the last 5 years, my company bought a bunch of computers through non-standard means (not through IT).

Last week, for a variety of reasons, a decision was made to turn these computers over to IT.  As they are types of computers that IT doesn't want to deal with, they said flat out that they would get rid of them.  That means that they will either, throw them in the dumpster, or maybe surplus them.

As they are still owned by my program, I was going to approach my manager and see if I could have one or two.  Do you think that this is ethical behavior?

Thanks,
Brett
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Brett

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st3307
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 12:37 PM »

  yes  I belive   so    and  if  ya  can   get  an extra  one  for me  I  will pay the  shipping  Smiley
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Good air always Bobby
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010, 01:03 PM »

Generally items are depreciated off a company's assets list after 3-5 years. 

If the company no longer views it as an asset and someone in authority is willing to sanction it, then heck yeah. 

If you can get some use out of something that is targeted for landfill fodder (not even recycling?  Cry )... Bien Mieux

It's not like you are waiting for the cleaning staff to leave and departing out the back with a non-descript duffel bag.

ATB,
Sam
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Gamelord
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010, 01:04 PM »

I think it would all depend on company policy and how they plan on disposing the computers.  I would approach your supervisor and ask them if you can either purchase them (for pennies on the dollar of course) or if they would be willing to give you one or two seeing as they are going to be trashing them anyways.

If they do decide to give you one or even sell you a couple for a couple bucks then there are a couple things that I would recommend.  First, get it in writing that the company is either giving you the computers or selling you a couple of the computers and make sure to list down exactly what it is that you are purchasing/getting. If purchasing, pay them with a check, that way you can have some form of proof that you did indeed purchase the computers should it ever come back to bite you in the future.  Make sure that your supervisor sees you or knows you are taking the items after the deal has been made, don't leave this up to hearsay and a ton of gray area.

Make sure to protect yourself in all areas because I have seen some good deeds go bad for employees with this type of situation.  Either a co-worker will report you, not knowing the whole deal or a supervisor will turn on you and say they never gave you permission - or even pocketed the cash himself and said you never paid, etc... etc...  If its all in writing and on the level then you should be fine should the $#@% ever hit the fan. Smiley

As far as ethical, if the company is willing to give/sell you the items then I see no ethical problem with it at all.
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chilese
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 01:09 PM »

Don't forget software on the machines. That can be a whole different bag of worms when it comes to ownership.

If not you who gets the computers, perhaps they could be donated to a school or library for a tax write-off.

Gamelord's thoughts are excellent by the way.
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John Chilese: Las Vegas, NV
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brettgrant99
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 01:56 PM »

Those are excellent points, some of which I hadn't thought of Smiley

Brett
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Brett

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Allen Carter
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 03:38 PM »

Best thing to do with any used computer is trash the hard drive and start fresh. Who knows what data might be hiding on the old disk that you really don't want to have in your house. I'd leave the drive with the company. It's their data. Thier problem.

Besides, the drive is usually the thing most in need of replacement for practical and technical reasons. You don't know how many time the machine has been kicked.
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Allen, AKA kitehead
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 03:52 PM »

I have worked for large company's that cycle through their computer inventory, I have procured from them, and other company's surplus computers.

 I then go through the machines and put together as many working machines as possible, then donate them to a local cause (battered woman, children groups, or any worthy cause.) I use my regular hourly rate as the value of the donation to write off taxes, some of the groups put the computers in service, others sell them off and use the money for other needs.

Its a win, win the original company gets rid of the surplus, the charity get the value of the computers, I get a tax deduction, and the landfill get nothing

As far as the OS on the systems,  A lot of machines come with a version of Windows installed, if this is the case then I will load that OS using the license number attached to the machine. If there is no license number then I reformat the drives with only a DOS prompt, so the computer will boot for testing purpose but end user must either have or purchase a license for the machine

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DD
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2010, 04:34 PM »

I do alot of this type of work on computers, if it is something they dont want and you will "dispose" of it then my view is take them with permission. The company may have to pay to have to them disposed of anyway; you really cant just dump them out with the trash. If there is an os with the machine then you can use that, if it uses a bulk license then really shouldn't use it.
On a somewhat funny side note I put out all my used computers out for the trash early, they never make it to the next day for the trash guys to pick up.
Also the magnets from hard drives are great and the platters make real nice coasters or i have seen them made into wind chimes.
Is it bad that i still have parts from 486s? Sad
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Sine Metu!
John Welden
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2010, 05:16 PM »

The thing you want to avoid is being a pain in the ass. If it's more than your boss saying, ya sure, take it, you'll be causing him work and that's generally a bad thing.  Next thing he knows, he's got five other guys asking for computers since you got one.  There are all sorts of potentially negative outcomes.

All I'm trying to say is that the economy is F'ed and it's not a good time to give your employer another reason to let you go. Do your job and shut your pie hole is always a good way to go.
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kiteking
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2010, 06:00 PM »


All I'm trying to say is that the economy is F'ed and it's not a good time to give your employer another reason to let you go. Do your job and shut your pie hole is always a good way to go.

That's a positive spin on a charitable theme
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MikeM
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RobB
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 04:06 AM »

JW is right. Let it go... computers are so cheap these days, just go out and buy the $400 special of the week at Staples. It's probably faster and has more storage than the ones going to the trash, and you aren't causing rukus at work.
I work for a company that takes care of the computer rotation for larger companies, and get to oversee (and partake) in the destruction of hundreds of machines each year. It breaks my heart to let all that 'good stuff' go, but it is what it is, you try to stand in the way of progress, you'll get run over. Personally, I have my own computer museum, never throw my own away, still have my first computer, a TRS-80 model I with 4K or RAM !  Cheesy

As far as donating machines... it's a logistacal nightmare, Good Will won't take machines anymore, and you can only write off 2 machines per year, anyway.

Making sure cast off machines make it to a proper recycling company is a noble cause. Most computer equipment goes straight to the landfill, whereas most of it could be recycled and reused. It took some time, but we found a company nearby that deals in scrap electronics, so, the last few truckfuls of computers that we were paid to smash were properly disabled, and then brought to the recycler, and we even got paid a couple of $$$ for the scrap. Lunch $$$ for the crew !
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