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7 examples of workplace misconduct

Examples of workplace misconduct.

Corporate fraud, bribery and espionage spring to mind when people think about whistleblowing. It’s often what we hear about in the media or see in the movies. In reality, there are many types of workplace misconduct. But knowing what these are isn’t easy. So guide employees by writing examples in your whistleblowing policy.

Why help employees recognise workplace misconduct?

Providing examples in your organisation’s whistleblowing policy helps employees separate grievances from harmful wrongdoing. This can help save time and resource by keeping issues that are for HR out of the whistleblowing channel. Also, by detailing a broad scope of reportable misconduct, it indicates a commitment to discouraging unethical behaviour and protecting your workforce.

Here are 7 examples of lesser-known workplace misconduct

1. Theft

Ok this does sound obvious, but stealing isn’t just about embezzlement or money laundering. It includes other types of workplace theft that may appear trivial but is still illegal. Defining this can help employees know they can report any form of theft. Examples include theft of merchandise, stock, company property or even stealing from co-workers.

2. Sexual harassment

Again, this may sound obvious, but an understanding of what is actual sexual harassment varies across people, companies, and cultures. With such ambiguity, this type of misconduct can often go unreported. It covers not only harassment between co-workers, but also customers, suppliers, associates and more.

3. Abuse of power

Pretty much workplace bullying. Abuse of power is when a person misuses their authority to intimidate or berate others. This can take on so many forms and be difficult for people to reveal over concern of reprisal. A reporting channel is effective in uncovering such behaviour, especially if you are specific about what is unacceptable behaviour in your organisation.

4. Falsifying documentation

This doesn’t just mean huge corporate fraud or even ‘fiddling the books’ (which is also misconduct). It’s about, for example, forging signatures, editing environmental documentation to improve results, or making up compliance certifications. All of which are illegal and therefore reportable.

5. Health and safety breaches

“A one-off won’t hurt anyone. Will it?” Yes! Health and Safety (H&S) rules and regulations are in place for a very good reason. If these are breached, whether once or continuously, they could cause a dangerous situation, even fatality. If a person sees a H&S breach but isn’t sure how to expose it, a whistleblowing channel provides an appropriate and secure place to do so.

6. Goods or property damage

Accidents happen, but if an employee is intentionally causing damage to goods or property it needs to be revealed. Not only is it unethical, it could put others in serious danger, so you will want to know about it.

7. Drug and/or alcohol use

Drug and/or alcohol use in a workplace is usually included in a company’s code of conduct, so any abuse of this is breaching rules. Being under the influence puts others at risk, and in some cases its also breaking the law.

It doesn’t end there!

These are just a few examples of workplace misconduct. It is by no means a complete list. It varies from company to company and industry to industry. A policy should at least include misconduct that is a threat to the public interest. It’s a requirement of the EU Whistleblowing Directive. What else you include is up to you (and what the law in your respective country says!).

Get started with whistleblowing

If you’d like to know about starting your whistleblowing policy, head over to our guide on whistleblowing implementation.

Are you interested in learning more about a whistleblowing service and safe internal reporting channels? Read more about the EU Whistleblowing Directive here and at EUR-Lex.

Are you looking for a safe and secure whistleblowing solution? Read more here.

Would you like to discuss a whistleblowing system for your organisation?
Please contact us or book a free demo!

If you have any thoughts about this article or would like to know more about Whistlelink, we’d love to hear from you.

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