In the previous blog post in this series, we explored a handful of unethical behaviors that all local government appointed and elected officials and employees should avoid. Let’s pick up where we left off:
- Sharing Confidential Information – It is unethical to divulge confidential information on any co-worker or citizen for personal reasons.
- Copyright Violation – Even though most public sector documents are public record, public sector employees should always give credit where credit is due and make sure copyrighted materials are properly annotated.
- Cyber-slacking – It is unethical to browse the Internet for personal reasons while “on the clock.” This includes, but is not limited to: online shopping, playing online games, checking your fantasy sport team’s stats, updating your personal social media site, etc.
- Discrimination –Title VI, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funding. If an organization is in violation, said organization can lose federal funding. Chapter VII of the Civil Rights Act, codifies Subchapter VI of Chapter 21 of 42 U.S.C . § 2000e, prohibiting discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Title VII also prohibits discrimination against an individual because of his/her association with another person or a particular race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Supplemental legislation has also been added prohibiting pregnancy, age, and disability discrimination.
- Email Abuse – It is unethical to create or forward any emails that are discriminatory, demeaning, abusive, and sexually explicit or contain sexual or racial innuendo. It is also unethical to send personal emails when you are “on the clock.”
- Endangering – Placing a co-worker, stakeholder, or citizen in a situation that threatens his/her mental, physical or emotional safety is unethical.
- Falsifying Time Sheets/Hours Worked – It is unethical to report hours you did not work. Additionally, you should never ask a co-worker to “clock you in” before you arrive or “clock you out” after you leave.
- Family Members – Some organizations will have nepotism clauses prohibiting simultaneous employment of members of the same family. Other employers welcome multiple family members. You should check with Human Resources to verify the specifics of your organization’s policy. Regardless, it is unethical to sway the interviewing and hiring process in favor of a family member.
A list like this may seem a bit overwhelming, but the truth is most of the behaviors are avoidable by practicing common sense. With that said, there are many pressures, both personal and work-related, that can cause us to lose our focus. Hopefully, this post (along with the others in this series) will serve as a lens for ethical service.
We will share more unethical behaviors to avoid in our next post.