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Business torts are civil wrongs that are committed by or against an organization.

INTENTIONAL TORT
Disparagement or Trade Libel or Product Disparagement or Slander of Title
“Business firms rely on their reputation and the quality of their products and services to attract and keep customers. That is why state unfair-competition laws protect businesses from disparaging statements made by competitors or others.”

Intentional Misrepresentation or Fraud or Deceit
“One of the most pervasive business torts is intentional misrepresentation.
Four elements are required to find fraud:
1. The wrongdoer made a false representation of material fact.
2. The wrongdoer had knowledge that the representation was false and intended to deceive the innocent part. (aka ‘scienter’)
3. The innocent party justifiably relied on the misrepresentation.
4. The innocent party was injured.”

UNINTENTIONAL TORT or NEGLIGENCE
Liability for harm as a result of foreseeable consequence.
Includes professional malpractice.

STRICT LIABILITY
Liability without fault “is imposed for abnormally dangerous activities” such as storage of explosives and keeping of pets.
Product Strict Liability given in Restatement (Second & Third) of Torts: One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability… A product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, it contains manufacturing defect, is defective in design, or is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings…

Crimes prone to be committed by businesspersons are referred to as white-collar crimes.

FORGERY
Fradulent making or alteration of a written document that affects the legal liability of another person.
Examples: counterfeiting, falsifying public records, materially altering legal documents.

EMBEZZLEMENT
Fradulent conversion of property by a person to whom that property was entrusted.
(Note: differs from robbery, burglary, and larceny where property was not entrusted.)

BRIBERY or PAYOFF or KICKBACK
Bribery is one of the most prevalent forms of white-collar crime.
Giving of money, property, favors, or anything else of value for a favor in return.

EXTORTION or BLACKMAIL
Threat to expose something about another person unless that other person gives money or property.

DECEIT or FALSE PRETENSE or CRIMINAL FRAUD
Obtaining title to property through deception or trickery.

reference Business Law by Henry Cheeseman

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Salesperson duties in accordance with the Golden Rule

1. Warn customers of potential hazards

2. Refrain from lying and deception

3. Fully and honestly answer questions about what they are selling

4. Refrain from steering customers toward purchases they have reason to think will harm the customers (including financially)

– see the complete article by Thomas Carson (whose ethics class I had the privilege of taking)

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What cooperation can do… To enjoy the simple pleasure of a cappuccino and croissant for breakfast draws “on the labors of a small army of people from at least half a dozen countries. Farmers in Colombia grew the beans. Brazil provided the lush green fields of swaying sugar cane that was used to sweeten the beverage. The dash of creamy milk came from cows on a local farm and was heated with the help of electricity generated by a nuclear power station in a neighboring state. The barista, being a pretentious sort of fellow, made the coffee with mineral water from Fiji. As for that flaky croissant, the flour came from Canada, the butter from France, and the eggs from a local cooperative. The pastry was heated and browned in a Chinese-made oven. Many more people worked in supply lines that straddle the planet to bring these staples together. Delivering that hot coffee and croissant also relied on a vast number of ideas.” –Super Cooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed, Martin Nowak


What cooperation needs to do… 
The number of chronically undernourished people now exceeds 1 billion…the poorer half of humankind have been squeezed down below 3% of global household income, living in dire poverty and dying therefrom at the rate of 2,000 every hour…roughly 1/3 of all human deaths annually are due to poverty-related causes that are preventable through better nutrition, safe drinking water, cheap rehydration packets, vaccines, antibiotics, and other medicines…48% of the world’s population were reportedly living below the poverty line of $2.50 per person per day in 2005. –Politics as Usual, Thomas Pogge

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What makes a business better? Ethics, according to the Better Business Bureau. Here are the eight principles that make up The BBB Code of Business Practices (Accreditation Standards):

1. Build Trust – Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.
2. Advertise Honestly – Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.
3. Tell the Truth – Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.
4. Be Transparent – Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.
5. Honor Promises – Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.
6. Be Responsive – Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
7. Safeguard Privacy – Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.
8. Embody Integrity – Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity.

MORE: http://www.bbb.org/us/bbb-accreditation-standards

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