Code of Ethics and Personal Conduct
1. Always treat other people as you would like to be treated by them.
2. Welcome, support and include everybody regardless of their background, experiences or identity including: people of all sexual orientations, gender identity and expression, race ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and/or economic class, education level, color, immigration status, sex, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental or physical disability.
3. Be considerate and respectful of your co-workers, clients, vendors, or any other person you encounter while on the job.
4. Always act professionally.
5. Do not harass or use offensive language. If someone tells you that your behavior is offending them, harassing them, or bothering them in any other way, stop that behavior.
6. Have no conflicts of interest: employees cannot work for businesses who are competitors or from whom the employee can seek to profit with his/her connections to this business.
7. Always be punctual to work, notify of any absences such as for illness, stay for your entire shift, and take only the breaks for which you are scheduled.
8. The manufacture, distribution, possession, sale, or purchase of controlled substances on company property is prohibited. Being under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol, or illicit substances on company property is prohibited. Working while under the influence of prescription drugs that could impair performance is prohibited.
9. Employees should always do their work fairly, honestly, and legally.
10. Employees should be well groomed and dressed appropriately for the business and for their position.
Response to Questions
Why did you include each of the ten elements?
1. The first ethical code sums up the way humans should act toward one another. It is the Golden Rule, Jesus’ admonition to his followers and Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative. In other words, it is the only way that the human species will survive. If too many people acted for their own interests only, humans would end up killing one another off in rapid fashion. Powell (2017) of Entrepreneur says, “The golden rule is a way of improving emotional intelligence and increasing an awareness of ethics in every interaction” (Powell, 2017). By using a simple standard such as the Golden Rule, of which most people are aware, it eliminates the need to consider complicated philosophical discussions.
2. This code addresses diversity. Every business should strive for a diverse workforce and that workforce should be welcoming of each other. The diversity would then extend to their clientele and that could make the difference of whether a company stays in business or not. People who see others like themselves working for a business tend to patronize that business.
3. If an employee is rude to other employees, clients, customers, or just in general, that will reflect badly on the people who hired him/her. While there should be a mix of personality types in a workplace, a rude person always makes life difficult. Adults who are capable of holding a job should be capable of civility also.
4. This is another catch-all type of phrase that should cover many areas. While not every employee, perhaps especially those that are inexperienced, will understand what exactly “acting professional” means, they can be mentored. The statements in a code of conduct or ethics are also goals for which employees can strive.
5. Sometimes it is difficult to define what harassment is. A good way to define all types of harassment is that if it is bothering the person that is the receiver/victim of the behavior and they ask the perpetrator/harasser to stop, then any further such behavior is harassment.
6. Conflicts of interests can do damage to the company. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (2019) says, “Many conflicts of interest involve commercial interests or financial arrangements. Policies and procedures in workplace settings should be evaluated to safeguard against biases or preferences being introduced into professional judgments. If a professional is offered, or receives, gifts or incentives—even something as minor as a free lunch—conflict of interest may be suspected” (ASHA, 2019). For example, an employee of a janitorial company should not work for a company that sells cleaning products and sell those products to the janitorial company. There are too many ways that can backfire for both companies and the employee.
7. This just makes sense. Employers want their employees to do a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. The ethics of employees are not always great because they have no issue with spending hours scrolling through their Facebook feed or shopping while at work, but they would have a problem if their paycheck was docked for the hours they spend goofing off. Depending upon how much weight is given to the code of conduct, if an employee is caught goofing off, or violating any of the other codes, he or she could be terminated for it.
8. Not only is it detrimental to employee performance if they take illicit drugs, drink alcohol or take prescription drugs that impair performance, it is also a hazard to the employer. If the impaired person did something that injured others or somehow caused damage, the company could be held liable because the employee was engaged to be working at the time.
9. This code refers to employees who try so hard to do well at their jobs that they overstep the law. This code goes back to the company’s reputation and integrity. For instance, one hears stories of people receiving gifts and kickbacks on the job that affect the way they perform their jobs. This is not good for employers, the employee or society.
10. Again, employees represent the business for which they work. They should look appropriate and not need a shower.
Why is a Code of Ethics an important part of every business from an employer standpoint?
One of the main reasons for a code of ethics/conduct is that the rules are clearly laid out for employees and there is not doubt about what they should do if they follow the code. If employees do not follow the code, they can be warned or terminated. Hayes (2019) of Investopedia says, “A code of ethics is a guide of principles designed to help professionals conduct business honestly and with integrity. A code of ethics document may outline the mission and values of the business or organization, how professionals are supposed to approach problems, the ethical principles based on the organization's core values, and the standards to which the professional is held” (Hayes, 2019).
Why is a Code of Ethics an important part of every business from an employee standpoint?
The Code of Ethics is important for employees because it is the standard to follow. If they have a question about a particular issue, the Code of Ethics should answer it. Leonard (2019) of Small Business Chron says, “[A Code of Ethics] provides employees with a framework of which rules exist, from a regulatory and law-enforcement standpoint and how to act in the gray areas of value-based ethics that aren't always clear” (Leonard, 2019).
Once you have written the Code of Ethics, how would you implement to ensure compliance?
To ensure that employees complied with the Code of Ethics I would have each of them read the entire Code of Ethics during their orientation at the beginning of their employment. Then I would have them sign a statement acknowledging that they had read the Code of Ethics and that they understand that if they are found to have violated any one of the codes, it is grounds for termination. I may not always terminate an employee who violated the Code of Ethics, but I certainly would call them to task for it. For example, if an employee showed up dressed inappropriately one day because their idea of appropriate differed from mine, I might counsel them on what I though was appropriate. If it happened again, they may get a warning, and any subsequent violations could be grounds for termination. Of course, if an employee was guilty of sexually harassing someone, doing something illegal, or being under the influence while on the clock, the reaction would be much more severe.
ASHA. (2019). Issues in Ethics: Conflicts of Professional Interest. Retrieved from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: https://www.asha.org/Practice/...
Hayes, A. (2019, May 31). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/t...
Leonard, K. (2019, February 12). Importance of Creating a Code of Ethics for a Business. Retrieved from Small Business Chron: https://smallbusiness.chron.co...
Powell, M. (2017, December 21). The Golden Rule Is Just as Good for Businesses as It Is for People. Retrieved from Entrepreneur: https://www.entrepreneur.com/a...