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Readers Respond: Have You Experienced Business Ethics Failures by Employees at Work?

Responses: 27


Despite hundreds of pages of policies, codes of business ethics, organizational values, and carefully defined company cultures, lapses in business ethics occur every day at work. The failure of employees to practice fundamental business ethics comes in all forms and sizes, both far reaching and close to home. Some ethical lapses affect individual employees. Other business ethics problems hurt whole work groups, and in the worst cases, whole companies and all of the stakeholders in the company suffer as a result. You probably witness employees failing to practice sound business ethics every day. Won’t you share your stories about business ethics problems with your colleagues?

See more Reader Responses to various other questions.

Share Your Examples

Supervisor is a bully

My supervisor on several occasions has talked down to me while employees were present. In one instance, we had a new employee who used to work for me join the group and I introduced him to our boss, and she made the comment, I apologize. In other words, apologize that he had to work for me. I thought that was very disrepectful, but when I reported this and other instances to HR, I was ignored. Pretty much, HR said it was my problem, not theirs.

Mother and Daughter, Mother is GM

I worked for a company where the mother is the GM for a hotel, and her daughter is her "Assistant", where she gets to make her own schedule and yells at other employees like she's the actual manager. Not fair at all and seems illegal
—Guest Guest

Unfair Practice Re: Employees

I work for a company where a mother and daughter hold decision making positions that impact new and existing employees' continued employment. In closed door meetings, it's their word against the employee. This leaves the employee with a feeling of being teamed up on. This is not a family owned company. What legal options does an employee have in protecting their employment.
—Guest Zoey

Contractor-subcontractor employee affair

I am a sub contractor working for a retail chain of stores. My client is having an intimate affair with my lead hand. I found out through a very solid source and I dismissed his service with my company. As for my female client she has a history to be intimate within her company circle. I would like to know if this would be a conflict of interest. I had to repair a lot of my ex employees work at my cost for their lack of concentration and responsibilities, other words , TRUST.
—Guest anthony

Unethical Manager

I was the victime of an office bully who was the HR manager. She turned on me when I began to expose how she was treating other employees. The sad part, my boss did nothing about it. The HR manager made up comments that were not actually made by other employees so employees would turn against each other and accused me of upsetting her assistant with an email I wrote. When I confronted her assistant, none of it was true, but it was then her assistant broke down in my office crying and told me how she hated her boss.

GM hires a manager's son - my hours cut

My GM hires the manager's 20 year old son..and my hours were cut. I only work 12 to17 hours a week. I've been working there for 4 years. I don't feel like it's fair. I just want to know is this even legal? It's been going on for a month already. I'm so ready to quit.....
—Guest linnette

Conflicts of interest

Supervisorss push you to invest a large amount of money and then say it's gone. Who do you get your money back with out losing your job going back and forth with you boss?
—Guest guest


My boss does nothing all day and can't enhance performance as he lacks the skills and knowledge himself. I brought this to the attention of upper management who also denied the allegations and disagree that sitting and gossiping is company theft and harassment which depletes work ethic all around.
—Guest Hopelessly fighting

Business Ethics Failures by an Employee

I have been working for this company for over 2 years now. About 6 months ago they hired a new employee and he calls on my clients and steals revenue from me and because the accounts are not under my name (because you have to work with them for 6 months before they can be your client) there is nothing the management will do. Our company policy is you are not allowed to call on a client if a current rep has worked with the client for the past 90 days. When I pointed this out to management, all they did was talk to him, like don't do it again, but of course he has done it to me 3 times.
—Guest Ready to quit

HR sister

Our HR hired her little sister to do work and she doesn't do anything. She hides for hours. When visitors and other employees complained, the employees were written up for harassment. They have even hired one of her friends and all they have to to is run and complain and that person is reprimanded. That employee doesn't even get a chance to defend themselves. I have had this personally done to me just because I asked one of them to do something they didn't want to do. I just needed to get this out. (Get out of there if you can.)
—Guest peanut


I work with a team of 5 associates. We all do the same type of duties. (Resposible for the protection of human life.) 2 of the associates, with the least years of experience, are brothers to the officer in charge (who has limited experience). I have extensive training and experience with all aspects of our duties, which does not make me any better than my coworkers as a person. But I have a lot of ideas which would enhance the knowledge and safety of all concerned and reduce the legal liability (Civil and Criminal), issues which are capable of destroying their lives and the companies. I have recomended training or meetings to discuss current issues but have been told, "NO". I am at a place in my career that an unjustifiable act can ruin my career and remove my family's assets. I have not had one week-end off since Nov. 2011, but others have. Does anyone have suggestions other than leave the company which can solve or at least help this situation. (You need to talk with your supervisor about the time off on weekends and I do suggest that you secretly look for a new job. I would not tell him. I don't think you are going to change tat situation from the sound of it - not with brothers and that reporting relationship, even if you do remind the supervisor about your liability concerns. Susan)
—Guest Retro Cop

The Buddy System

I have been working at a place for seven years on shift. Four years ago, another supervisor was hired who does personal training on the side. Less experience and initiative, yet when the boss needed help on a straight daylight shift, I was passed over and a trainer guy got it. (btw the boss is a friend and a customer of trainer guy; they can now train and play basketball after work hours).
—Guest Anonymous

Conflict of interest

I work for a tug boat company. Well, we have a port captain whose son works with us. Basically, he gets away with everything. Hardly comes to work, first choice for schooling and his dad evaluates him at the end of the year. I'm sick and tired of this. What can be done about this? (Talk to your boss to see if there is anything that can be done, especially if it is having an impact on your ability to accomplish work. Leave for another job. But, yes, sometimes things are not fair or right.)
—Guest Dean

When is management trained?

90% of survey responses complain about how our management created issues for them. Yet the employees get additional training and, of course, the tongue lashing, and good luck to the pittance of a raise.
—Guest Biff

The Boss's Son

I work for a safety training company and the manager is the father of one of the trainers. He has a top of the range car, starts and finishes work when he wants and gets a pay rise every year. What do the rest of us get? unpaid over time, cheaper cars, and more work.
—Guest Dudley

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Have You Experienced Business Ethics Failures by Employees at Work?

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