What bothers me, however, is the prevalence in our society which not only condones dishonesty, but embraces it. Workplace dishonesty runs high on both sides of the pay grid. Managers as well as, employees are caught in this web. According to an article in “BrokerLink” July 2014, workplace fraud by employees, has grown substantially and caused small businesses to lose an estimated $3.2 billion in 2010.
Mangers are guilty of abusing their roles and authority when they threaten loss of employment if employees don’t follow through with a specific unethical behavior. A young man I know was given this ultimatum, but rather than cave to the threat, he quit his job because his moral standards were above this type of activity.
Unlawful conduct by employees is another way dishonesty is alive and well in the workplace. This can include padding an expense account, to feeling free to abscond with products like office supplies, or using business computers for personal tasks or sharing software with others illegally. Other times it’s corruption in the form of bribery, and self-serving transactions or financial fraud. Sometimes, employees abuse sick time, or personal days.
One situation of unlawful conduct ended up in court when an employee who was issued a gas card for expenses doing company business used it for personal pleasure. He justified his actions by claiming he hadn’t received a raise in a number of years, which was proved true, but didn’t change the fact that he had broken ethical laws.
Other times dishonesty can begin before an employee even begins his first day on the job. When a resume is embellished or accomplishments claimed which have never occurred or are less than truthful, the foundation of hiring is based on lies. These lies rarely remain dormant since a lie will beget a lie and often grow with each successive story.
Company time misuse is yet another way employees are dishonest on the job. Employees choose to do personal business, or make personal phone calls, spend time surfing the net or neglecting to carry out required duties of the job or even staying on company time when not really “on the clock.”
Businesses demonstrate dishonesty when they display unethical environmental infractions since releasing pollutants or toxins into the air can be harmful to thousands of people. When safety standards are ignored and improper maintenance of equipment results, accidents happen. Cutting corners to save money, creating risks where people can be harmed, are other examples of workplace dishonesty, as are claims of wages which are not considered “fair wage,” employing underage children, unsafe working conditions, or failure to honor commitments.
It seems ethical standards in business have become twisted and dishonored by those who would choose to get ahead through and by greed. We have become a people consumed with getting to the top without regard to another’s feelings or whether the journey there is necessarily legal. It’s doesn’t matter how we get to the top of the ladder, just that we do!
I challenge you to consider where you stand on the ladder of success. Are you one who chooses to ignore ethical behavior and guidelines in your drive to get ahead? Does the word “cutthroat” mean anything to you? Are you, instead, interesting in climbing the ladder one rung at a time, through decency, honesty, and principled behaviors? I suggest those who have high moral judgments and principal are really the ones who get ahead, because their character, which lasts forever, means more than the glitz and glitter of gold, which is only temporary.