Ethics in the Workplace – Top 10 Mistakes

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Being ethical in the workplace is a vital part of doing your job well. Most companies generally have pages and pages of rules, regulations, codes of conduct and other organizational values that you must follow. Despite all of these written, and even some unwritten, policies ethical lapses occur each and every day on the job. It would be a shame to throw your hard work at a Washington college down the drain due to a mistake.

Why Have Codes For Ethics
Most companies have the need to have codes to define the boundaries for employee behavior. While most employees have great integrity and do work ethically many take advantage of the company they work for. To level the playing field for all involved firms establish rules for everyone to play by.
Lapses in ethics range from very small matters in judgment to huge mistakes that cost a company dearly. It is imperative that you, as an employee, do all you can to follow the codes of conduct your company has established to insure the business runs properly.

Ethics Mistakes in the Workplace
Let’s look at a few examples of workplace ethics mistakes. These ten scenarios will run the range from small to huge, but all show lapses in moral judgment.

  • You take office supplies home for personal use. The justification for this is that you work from home sometimes, work late often or any of a number of other excuses that allows you to defend these actions. Even though this is not a major ethical issue if everyone thinks like this it can cost your company tons of money.
  • You use the last bit of paper in the printer. Instead of taking the time to add more paper you walk away leaving the next person to do the job. It may take a few minutes for this person to figure out exactly why the machine did not print wasting time, and money.
  • Your entire team works hard on a large project. It all comes out well and your bosses are very pleased. But you take much more credit than you deserve for the project and completely fail to mention some people who worked on the job.
  • Lying about your title. At a chance meeting with a person who might like to do business with your firm you portray yourself as a vice-president of your company. After this person actually calls your company your boss asks you if you told the person you were a vice-president. You feign ignorance of the matter and say it must have been a mistake.
  • You spend time at work doing your personal things. For example, spending time on your computer banking, shopping, checking out the news and doing other things online not related to your job.
  • Gossip seems to spread around your office like wildfire. You do your part by repeating as much of the juicy stuff as possible. Of course, you don’t care if it’s true or not. You just like to stir the pot some.
  • Feeling Jealous for others in the organization. That nice looking young lady your company hired last year to work in your department is moving up the ladder, fast. You have been having sex with her and giving her special treatment. It’s just having fun you say. It has no impact on her job!
  • You misrepresent a product your company makes to a prospective client. The client is impressed and places a large order for the product. Even though you know your goods won’t do the job you say nothing.
  • The day is just so beautiful. You call in sick just because you want to go play golf or go shopping instead of going to work.
  • Your company seems to be out of the running for getting a large project. You want this job because it will make you look good so you decide to provide a financial incentive to the people who are in charge of awarding the work.

Ethical lapses come in all doses, large and small. They are all immoral and you should do all you can to avoid them. Company codes for ethics have been put in place to insure your company runs smoothly and to keep employees from abusing company policy. Be cognizant of the rules and stay ethical.

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