The Elephant in the Workplace: What to do When Ethical Issues Arise

The day will undoubtedly come when one of your employees comes forward with an ethical complaint or you will face a dilemma as to whether report an ethical question to upper management. Thoughts of fear will rush through your brain as you consider how to handle the problem, whether dealing with a complaint or reporting an inaccuracy of your own. Without the proper background and framework for how to deal with these situations, some go unreported; worse yet, you may make statements to an employee that are actually retaliatory, and expose the company to even further liability if the employee files a lawsuit. Sound scary? It doesn't have to be.

Dealing with a Complaint

Syntrio’s ethics and code of conduct courses train managers on how to properly report and deal with complaints of ethical violations in the workplace. By instilling confidence in managers as to what constitutes an actual ethics violation, the nuances of dilemmas that will come up in the workplace become clearer, and therefore reporting potential violations becomes less of a mystery.

Remember, ethics is about doing the “right” thing. This can have multiple meanings in different situations. For example, if an employee complains that a co-worker is stealing customer data, the right decision is obvious (you investigate the situation and report the conduct immediately). However, many ethical dilemmas stem from employee complaints that are subtler.

In these situations you need to weigh the utility of reporting the potential violation with the harm it may do the company. For example, if an employee reports to you that his or her co-worker is talking to clients in a rude manner on the telephone you may investigate the situation, but if it is a minor inconvenience it is probably not worth more than having a conversation with the employee about what you have overheard and dealing with it at the micro level.

Dealing with an Ethical Dilemma

Our courses also teach management how to deal with actual ethical dilemmas that arise within the course of their duties. For example, if you determine that the company’s books are inaccurate, how do you deal with reporting the unethical conduct while handling the fear of retaliation? Although the answers are sometimes complicated, we present real-life scenarios to your managers that reduce the mystery and provide you the framework for ethical decision-making.

Getting it Right Requires Training

The aforementioned examples show common ethical dilemmas that come up in the workplace and common questions that arise with respect to reporting unethical conduct managers either hear about or discover on their own. Syntrio is committed to helping companies of all sizes commit to the utmost ethical standards in all aspects of conducting their business, and therefore provides cost-effective ethics and code of conduct training courses that are cognizant of the value of time to modern companies. Contact for more information about our ethics compliance courses and remember to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your business!


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