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Sunday, April 29, 2007

SOUND OFF: BOSS'S BONUS MISTAKE

All the readers who responded said that they would let their bosses know if they received a larger bonus than they'd been led to believe they'd be getting.

"The resolution is identical whether the bonus is too big or too small," writes Mary Jan Rosenak of Madison, Wisc. "You thank your boss for the generous bonus, even better than you expected. You thank your boss for the generous bonus, but less than you expected."

Another reader who asked not to be named would e-mail the boss to thank him for the bonus. As a result, she writes, it's much more likely that he'd reply by saying "I'm glad I could reward you even more than originally promised. Keep up the good work."

Without question you should tell your boss what happened, writes Jan Bohren of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

"Three things are possible," he continues. "Your boss decided to increase your bonus and neglected to tell you. A mistake has been made. This is a test."

Regardless of the reason, Bohren writes, the right thing is to let the boss know.

Check out other opinions or post your own by clicking on "post a comment" or "comments" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business" (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of http://www.jeffreyseglin.com, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

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