Speak Up! Reporting Ethics Violations is Serious Business

Rarely a day goes by without a headline about a career toppled over an ethics violation. All too frequently the subsequent text reveals a trail of unheeded warning signs uncovered by the investigation following the incident. Indeed, corruption, carelessness, and unethical behavior often go unreported, which presents a serious problem for companies seeking to maintain a culture of compliance.

Statistics show that ethics violations are going unreported at an alarming rate. Indeed, approximately 60 percent of employees surveyed responded that they had witnessed at least one ethics violation at their current place of employment, yet only 45 to 60 percent of those bothered to report it. Worse yet, how serious an ethics violation has little to do with whether an employee is willing to report the violation, and managers committed a full 60 percent of the violations witnessed.

The key to maintaining a positive ethical culture at your company is to encourage a “speak up” culture wherein employees hold one another accountable and where everyone feels comfortable identifying and reporting wrongdoing before consequences occur. In general, you should encourage employees to immediately report known or suspected misconduct if they feel the act could have a detrimental impact on the employee, their co-workers, or the company as a whole.

What Acts are “Reportable Offenses?”

There are a variety of reportable violations that your managers should make employees aware of, so that they are not left in the dark about what is a “reportable” offense. The most common forms of violations are as follows:

  • Theft
  • Improper use of time and resources
  • Breach of confidentiality
  • Safety violations
  • Discrimination or Harassment
  • Abusive Behavior
  • Bribery
  • Fraud
  • Falsifying records and reports

Of course, there are hundreds of other ethics questions that cross into the “grey” area of reporting. As a company, it is your job to educate and instruct your employees about how to identify and report misconduct so that it does not continue. “SPEAK UP!”

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses avoid costly incidents associated with ethics violations in the workplace. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses for employees and management and remember to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on compliance that impact your company!

Stay tuned, as next week we will examine the proper channels for reporting ethics violations that an employee witnesses at your company, and how to choose which method is right for you.

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