Ethics in the Workplace

Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace

Our company maintains an ongoing commitment to complying with applicable laws and to sustaining an ethical culture.
Ethical behaviour creates a positive working environment, which helps us to be more productive and to serve our customers better.
We are an ethical company and each of us is responsible for protecting our company’s good name by behaving ethically in the workplace.

Choosing the right path is not always a clear-cut choice though.

For example, sometimes we may be offered gifts from our suppliers. These could range from a significant financial offering to a bottle of wine or even a cup of coffee.

How can you know when to accept and when to decline?

It’s actually quite simple. A combination of ethical decision-making and familiarity with our gifts and entertainment policy will help you make the right choice.
Don’t feel you have to face ethical challenges alone. You can discuss them with your manager or your colleagues.
You can also talk to our Legal or Compliance department. We will happily help anyone who asks for support.
Doing the right thing is not always easy. But being ethical always pays off in the end.

Paying for Lunch

Dion met a friend for lunch. When he finished, his friend said: “You should charge lunch to your expense account since you spent most of the time telling me about work. Call it a working lunch!”

What kind of behaviour does this suggestion represent?


It is unethical to charge a personal expense to the company.

Even if you spent an hour discussing work over lunch, it would still be unethical to charge lunch to the company unless it was a business meeting
with a client, or you were travelling on company business.

Proprietary Information

Ethan, a colleague of yours, takes a crowded train to work. As he was leaving the train today, he noticed that a passenger had left what looked to be confidential documents about one of our competitors on the train seat.

What is the ethical thing to do in this situation?

  •  Pick up the documents and hand them into Legal when he gets into the office. They’ll take the appropriate action.
  • Keep the documents to himself. There may be some very useful information in the documents that might help him get a jump on the competitor.
  • Leave the documents where they are. They aren’t his responsibility.

Thanks for helping your colleagues

The ethical thing for Ethan to do in this situation is hand the documents into Legal when he gets into the office.
While it’s not illegal to leave the documents where they are or keep them for himself, it’s important to remember that just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

It’s important to remember that:

  •  Good business ethics create a positive working environment, which helps us serve our customers better.
  •  Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it pays off in the long run.
  •  You don’t have to face dilemmas alone – talk to your peers or your manager. Trust your instincts and know when to confide in a trusted
    colleague to talk through your dilemma.

This content is an extract from the ethics in the workplace course

Download our Ethics in the Workplace Training Booklet.
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