Everybody wants to be able to enjoy their work enviroments, although, there are many things that can distort their perspective. If you know what to look for you can find red flags and warning signs pointing to ethical issues. We tend to think of ethics as it relates to management due, in part, to recent news stories. But unethical behavior exists on both sides of the management divide.

Abuse 

Abuse in the work place is more common than most people believe. We have all heard the phrase, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” and that responsibilty is to manage what’s yours to manage without abusing the authority given to you. For example, if you fired someone because you  didn’t like them rather than issues related to their work, that would be abusing your power.  Another hot topic when we think of ethical issues in the work place is sexual abuse which can range from verbal interactions to physical. There is no reason to be touching another co-worker or to talk to someone provocativly in the work space. Verbal abuse is using words to degrade someone else. This type of abuse is typically not taken seriously since there’s no physical harm, but degrading someone constantly can effect their mental health and  lower their productivity.

 

Theft 

Have things been disapearing from the break room? Office supplies missing? Stealing anything from your employer, employee, or co-worker is stealing – no matter the situation, whether it be their products or their money. Employers steal from the employees by not paying them fairly for the hours they work, or lying about future payments (like bonuses or raises) which never materialize.

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Time 

Employees who are consistently late or leave early without regard to the work flow are as unethical as those taking office supplies.  Schedules are made to get a certain amount of work done under a set budget. Tardiness affects not only the company, but co-workers who must cover for the shiftless employee.

Similarly, employees who find ways to avoid being as productive as possible (online games and chatting/texting on the phone are popular) are stealing time from their employer by wasting time for which they are being paid.

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