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Stock Options for the Rest of Us?

Ethical companies offer similar benefits to all employees from the CEO to the lowest clerk. Plus, is it O.K. to share a Wi-Fi signal?

My employer, a publicly traded company, has a very generous stock-option program for senior executives, but the program doesn't extend to middle managers and the rank-and-file. What do you think about this?

Not much. To me, the most-ethical and smartest companies offer similar benefits, including stock options, to all employees, from the chief executive officer to the lowest clerk.

And the number of options granted to senior management should be a small portion (not a multiple) of what's given to all other employees collectively. This recognizes that a company's success results from all employees working together toward common goals.


Sharing or stealing?

I just moved into a new apartment, and I mentioned to the woman next door that I can pick up her Wi-Fi signal on my PC. She doesn't care, but she suggested that I reimburse her for half of her monthly Internet subscription charge. This would save us both some money, but is it ethical?

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First, kudos to you for informing her; a lot of people poach without mentioning it. But the signal isn't hers to sell, at any price. She's renting it from her Internet service provider, which would be deprived of your subscription revenue if you go along with her offer. (Same thing goes for tapping into a cable-TV line or illegally copying DVDs and newsletters.)

Paying for your own encrypted Web connection will also give you more security. Hackers have used intercepted Wi-Fi signals to steal credit-card numbers and other confidential information.


Is cash O.K.?

My plumber always asks to be paid in cash. I suspect that he doesn't plan to report it on his tax return. Should I mind?

I think your suspicions are right. And, yes, you should mind -- unless you like paying for his share of the public services funded by income taxes.

Give him a personal check, and if he objects, find another plumber.