5 Possible Ethics Violations in Your Office

Despite your best efforts to monitor ethical behavior in your company and enforce ethics policies, violations are likely to occur. And these are just a few of the unethical instances you might not even realize are happening within your organization. Since you can’t always see or witness every situation, an ethics hotline can help to prevent and respond to these unethical situations that may arise without your knowledge.

1. Discrimination

Discrimination comes in all kinds of forms and can occur during in-person and online encounters. Since you can’t possibly be privy to every conversation within your organization, you might not realize instances of discrimination are occurring. Here are just a few examples of discriminatory behavior an ethics hotline can help you prevent:

· Discrimination during the hiring process.

· Discrimination during the vendor selection process.

· Discrimination among project work and teams.

2. Harassment

It’s not uncommon for harassment to creep into the workplace. And you might not realize it’s happening as the company or department leader. When you have an ethics hotline in place, anyone can anonymously report instances of harassment. Hotlines can additionally be a resource to staff, vendors, and colleagues who may need to report any of the following:

· Sexual harassment

· Physical harassment

· Workplace bullying

3. Improper Use of Company Resources

Studies suggest that 64% of workers and employees visit non-work websites during company time. There are also instances of employees using company resources for personal use, costing your business hundreds or thousands of dollars annually. An ethics hotline provides a confidential outlet for anyone to report instances of company resource theft, small or large, allowing you to reduce those theft-related costs.

· Staff taking home company supplies.

· Employees using company resources online for personal use.

· Individuals taking advantage of business discounts for personal use.

4. Unethical Leadership Practices

While most of your managers and company leaders are responsible and reliable, there can sometimes be one or more individuals who act unethically. Employees who experience unethical leadership practices will often be unwilling to come forward out of fear of retaliation. However, with an ethics hotline in place, team members can be confidential about reporting, knowing there won’t be retaliation for calling out unethical leadership behavior. Here are just a few leadership ethics violations you might not realize are happening in your company.

· Favoritism from leaders

· Unethical reprimand practices

· Unethical compensation and pay raises

5. Data Privacy Violations

Even if your business model involves an in-person or inter-office environment, like a restaurant, retail store, or service location, a portion of your operations is still occurring online. And any type of business that involves collecting, sharing, or storing customer information, business information, or vendor information will have certain risks associated with data privacy and protection. An ethics hotline makes it possible for anyone with data privacy concerns to come forward anonymously, including IT staff, suppliers, or customers. It can help you prevent the following data-related issues.

· Inadvertent sharing of proprietary company information.

· Deliberate use of customer-identifying data for non-work purposes.

· Emailing sensitive information outside of designated company channels.

Should your company experience any of these ethics violations, it can become costly. You might lose valuable employees, be fined for non-compliance, or face expensive litigation. You can’t possibly know everything happening within your company. And it’s why businesses, small and large, are embracing the ethics hotline model. Connect with us at Ethical Advocate to learn more about how an ethics hotline can protect your teams, your business, and your bottom line.