7 Ethics Your Parents Taught You and How They Fit in the Workplace

Posted by Amanda Nieweler

on February 26, 2014

stock graphic post it notes right wrong question markEthics: moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity

Your parents taught you some very important but basic ethics when you were a child, for the purpose of setting you up for success in the big bad world when you grew up. They wanted to ensure that you knew how to conduct yourself around your fellow human beings and within society. Remember these:

  • Don’t forget Please and Thank You
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full
  • Don’t take that other child’s toy, it’s not yours

Simple ethics that make common sense, right? For the most part we abide by these rules in our everyday lives. We thank the Taxi Cab driver as we pay and get out. We hold the door open for the next person coming up right behind us. But in some cases, whether intentional or not, we don’t conduct ourselves in an ethical manner at our place of employment. The following are some examples of ethics we were taught as children and how they now translate into any Code of Ethics in the workforce.

Think before you talk or act:
People have the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination based on race, ancestry, family status, age, disability, etc. Behave in a professional manner and treat others with respect

No gossiping or talking about people:
Whether it’s behind someone’s back in the communal area, or now more commonly via social media (cyber bullying) gossiping, making jokes, spreading rumours, threatening or intimidating a colleague goes against a company’s Code of Ethics and prevents the recipient from working in a safe environment

No hitting – keep your hands to yourself:
Negative physical contact that endangers a co-worker’s health and safety in the workplace is bullying. As well physically, tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment for the purpose of hindering them in any way from any success is bullying

Never take candy from a stranger:
Corporate gifts are a tricky subject. Vendors regularly send gifts to companies as a thank you for their service. But employees should not use their employment status to accept any type of gift that could be perceived to benefit their position in the company in any way

Respect other’s property:
In most cases, employees are given the use of company assets in order to carry out their job functions. Computer systems, software, company phones, Internet, etc., belong to the company and should be treated with respect. This means an employee must ensure that the assets that they have been made responsible for are protected from fraud, abuse, theft, misuse and waste and should not be used in an illegal or unethical manner

Don’t tell secrets:
As a general rule, employees should not disclose a company’s financials, or other papers, processes, plans or manuals, etc. with other people. This type of information is proprietary to an organization and up to the organization to disperse as it sees fit

Be honest and trustworthy:
This speaks for itself. Be honest about your work and your co-worker’s work. Don’t take credit for what is not yours. Give credit where it is due. Being trustworthy means you are being counted on to get a job done right and you go that extra mile to ensure it’s done.

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