How to detect common unethical behaviors at the workplace


  • Author Fabiola Groshan
  • Published January 13, 2015
  • Word count 510

Regardless of the company size, unethical behavior poses a major risk, not only because it can cause financial issues and damage the reputation of the organization, but also because it decreases the quality of the workplace, affecting the employees’ performance and attitude towards their job. Following the relatively recent regulations in labor law and the implementation of compliance software and anonymous hotlines, it has come to managers’ attention that, although they might not be aware of it, their employees can be victims of unethical treatment and their profit could be jeopardized by fraudulent practices. These can range from small misunderstandings and conflicts to huge cases of illegal activities that can even shut down a company. Companies that specialize in anonymous whistleblower hotlines comprised a list of the most frequent unethical behaviors at the workplace to draw attention to common organizational risks and tell managers what problems can be reported through a whistleblower hotline.

First of all, in the United States the most common complaints refer to aggressive colleague behavior and serious discrimination. Both women and men suffer from discrimination on the ground of gender, sex, sexual orientation, education and racism. Whether they manifest as simple jokes or develop into harassment, they should be reported and stopped as soon as possible. As far as human resources go, employees can be mistreated, intimidated abused, or forced to work in improper conditions. Power abuse is also quite common. In some companies, department managers force entry-level employees to work to exhaustion, depriving them of basic rights. Secondly, other unethical behaviors refer to the failure to comply with safety standards. For instance, many employees call hotlines to report that their colleagues or superiors use illegal substances such as drugs or alcohol at work, harming their health and, indirectly, the one of those around them.

In addition, not all problems refer to the way employees and managers treat each other. Sometimes, operations and finance processes can be equally damaged. For instance, many managers report that they’ve learned about serious frauds through anonymous hotlines: altering financial records, conducting company operations in unauthorized locations, document forgery, leaking confidential information and so on. Upper management can’t always check these issues directly and, should an employee find out about them, they can’t contact the manager or a reliable superior to talk about them. Needless to say, employees will always have the understandable reticence towards revealing sensitive secrets, because they fear that the information could get into the hands of the wrong person, who might fire them.

The more employees a company has, the more it is likely to experience these issues. Managers don’t always have the time to check if they occur and, since they are rarely discussed openly, they can be oblivious to them for years and years. To increase workplace satisfaction and eliminate unethical behavior, professional ethics reporting solutions are by far the fastest, safest and most effective option. With their help, managers can receive detailed and accurate reports directly from operators and avoid the use of subjective, unreliable sources such as department managers.

To find out where to get compliance software and implement a whistleblower hotline, please click on the links.

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