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5 Common Ethical Issues in the Workplace

A lot of common ethical issues in the workplace go unnoticed due to unconscious bias and this causes them to fester which ultimately ends up promoting a toxic working environment. In order to remove ethical issues from the workplace, you need to understand the most common issues so you can recognize them and adjust your practices as necessary. Here are 5 ways to avoid the most common ethical issues in the workplace.

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1 – Favoritism and Nepotism

Favoritism and nepotism occur when the same person or group of people are often rewarded when others are not. It is largely due to unconscious bias and it isn’t always done with malicious intent but it is a problem that hurts marginalized groups in the workplace. Favoritism in the workplace is when a person (usually a manager) demonstrates preferential treatment to one person over all of the other employees for reasons unrelated to performance. This often happens when coworkers have a shared history, or they have bonded over common outside interests. Nepotism is even more blatant as people give friends and family special treatment in the workplace. You must ensure that all of your performance reviews, raises, and promotions are based on performance and not your personal feelings towards a certain employee or group of employees. Everyone deserves an even playing field.

2 – Health and Safety

Health and safety is often overlooked but it is very important to ensure that your workplace provides your employees the tools necessary to remain healthy. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 2.3 million people die annually from workplace accidents or diseases related to their occupation. Health incidents also arise from mental health problems such as stress and headaches. Low job satisfaction, a reward system based on favoritism, and long hours can also result in unhealthy lifestyle choices, including substance abuse. To encourage a healthy environment and optimum performance, it is of utmost importance to prioritize the health and safety of your employees. Remember, employees perform at their best when they are healthy and well rested.

5 Common Ethical Issues in the Workplace
5 Common Ethical Issues in the Workplace – Video available now on the HoffsTech YouTube Channel!

3 – Policing Employee Social Media

While it is legal for a company to take disciplinary action on employees who post disparaging messages about their work on social media, these issues should not be taken lightly. If employee behavior costs the business financial or reputation loss, firing them would be justified. However, disciplinary action based on social media communications can lead to unwanted miscommunication and conflict. So, how do you avoid social media dilemmas?

The best way to avoid unnecessary conflict due to social media issues is to set guidelines and policies for social media etiquette up front & communicate this to your employees. If an issue happens, talk about it with the employee. If they are posting disparaging messages about their job or the company, clearly they are unhappy with their work and you should do everything you can to resolve the conflict.

4 – Data Privacy

Most organizations have a technology use and data policy but what are they actually doing to protect the privacy of their employees’ data? Employees should always read through their contracts thoroughly for what monitoring the company carries out. For example, some businesses track all worker activity on devices like phones and laptops given to the worker. Your IT department should also implement a cybersecurity plan to prevent data breaches.

5 – Unethical Leadership

This issue is often overlooked as people generally do not want to report their manager for unethical behavior or perhaps they don’t even recognize it as unethical.

Examples of unethical leadership include:

  • Manipulating report numbers
  • Spending company money on personal activities
  • Accepting inappropriate gifts from clients and vendors
  • Asking you to keep a secret
  • Asking you to go against standard procedure

The best way to avoid these common ethical issues in the workplace is to set guidelines and communicate policies and procedures in every employees’ contract. You should also highlight certain areas of concern to ensure that every employee complies with your corporate standards.

Avoiding Common Ethical Issues in the Workplace – Courses on Pluralsight

Managing Technical Professionals
Managing Technical Professionals – Available Now on Pluralsight!

You can learn more about avoiding common ethical issues in the workplace in my Pluralsight course, Managing Technical Professionals. This course includes animated scenario-based training and you will watch as a management team uses best practices in conflict resolution as well as other skills to help you get your employees to perform at their highest potential. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have the skills that you need to provide a positive and productive working environment as well as attract and retain top talent. Click the button below to get started with a free trial today!