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Master Dealing with Unethical Behavior in the Workplace

NYC Jobs Board
December 11, 2019

Most people have to deal with ethical issues at some point in their careers. They might come up against someone who is behaving unethically in the company or may find themselves being asked to do something with which they disagree. They also find other unethical behaviors including misuse of company time, employee theft, discrimination, harassment, or violating the company’s policies. If these unethical behaviors in the workplace remain unaddressed, they can have severe consequences and can create a toxic work environment in which the business and employees ultimately suffer. However, with the help of the company’s owner and management, you can try to prevent unethical behaviors.

Dealing with Unethical Behavior In the Workplace

Overcoming unethical business practices can be tough but you can deal with them by following a complete procedure. Some people make a report to their boss or try to contact an outside organization. Before taking action against any unethical behavior, make sure you have all the facts and evidence of the event as sometimes they can backfire if you lack the evidence. In this way, you can be proved wrong, and your position at the company can be at risk. So, to speak against any unethical behavior, do it in the right way so that you do not face any problem in the future.

Get All the Facts Before You Take Any Action

Before labeling any behavior as unethical, make sure you have all the information. You cannot put the blame and accuse people without evidence. If you get any news, first of all, what you need to check is that either the behavior is unethical or not. If it is so, then try to find a witness to that. Lastly, you should document what that person did and when as it will prevent you from getting in trouble. In this way, you will have all the facts, and you can bring the authority into the matter.

Getting all the evidence is necessary as it can make your position in the workplace risk. If the behavior you are reporting is not unethical, it will decrease your reputation and credibility. Do not accuse people unless you are 100% sure of your claims.

Approach Your Colleague

You can approach the person that is behaving unethically in a calm manner. Try casual tactics and remind him or her that the behavior is against the workplace’s rule. It is more likely that they would understand your points and would stop their unethical behavior.

Create a Code of Conduct

If you are an owner of the company and want to make your workplace ethically safe and comfortable for your employees, you should create a written code of conduct. It should outline what behaviors are unacceptable within the company, what are the rules that employees should follow, and what actions should be taken if any employee violates these rules and codes of conduct.

Follow Company Protocol

Every company provides its employees with a specific procedure of reporting unethical behavior. The employee handbook contains all the ways you can look at for advice. If you find any unethical situation in the workplace and want to report it, go to your supervisor or manager. However, if you find your supervisor or manager engaged in any unethical behavior, you should report to someone of a higher position. However, in case you feel that you are not getting solid support, then you have the last option, i.e., reporting to the company’s owner. But before moving up the hierarchy of your company, make sure you are clear on your company protocol and policy.

Taking Action as A Leader

While being a leader, you must create an environment in which employees feel comfortable and safe. You should be a genuinely approachable leader so that your employees can speak up to you whenever any uncertain action occurs. Being a leader, you must also take strict actions against the ones who are found guilty so that it can set the tone for how others will take these ethical concerns seriously.

Empower Employees

To make employees confident, provide them with the essential know-how to correctly identify and handle ethics violations. You should arrange ethics training programs so that they get in-depth knowledge of these issues. You can also tie your employees to behave ethically by granting compensation incentives such as additional paid time off or end of the year bonus. Remember, remain open and give your employees the freedom to talk to you regarding these issues.

Speak to Management

If you continuously find someone engaged in unethical acts, you should bring the management into the matter. Upper management usually does not neglect these kinds of serious issues and take strong actions against them so that other people in the future do not even dare to think about them. Remember, speaking against unethical behavior will not only create a better and comfortable work environment but will help the company recognize your integrity as well.

Whistle Blowing

Whistleblowing is an action to expose any activity that is considered unethical, illegal, or not correct within an organization. Sometimes, you might face some issues that are more than being unethical or in other words, illegal. You have to deal with them differently. Raise the alarm to divert the attention of higher authority towards the issue but you must seek legal help, as whistleblowing can sometimes be risky for your career.

Go to Another Place

After you have reported an ethical issue to the authority, and if they have not taken any action against it, it will surely hit your morals. Well in that case, the best you can do is move on and find another job. But in case you want to stay with the company, you can consider switching departments. You might have to deal with different people, but you should go for it if you think it is worth it. By doing this, you will get the self-satisfaction. You will not have the guilt that you are working in such an environment where ethical issues are of no value.


Dealing with unethical behavior in the workplace can be a difficult task, but if you use the right way to report it to the related authority, then you can do it with ease. Use any of the above solutions to overcome unethical business practices.

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