In the two previous blog posts in this series, we explored unethical behaviors that all local government appointed and elected officials and employees should avoid. We are confident no one enjoys reading about things we should not do, but in local government, the stakes are high and this refresher will hopefully spur a re-commitment to highest ethical standards. Our list continues…
- Favoritism – Public sector employees cannot show favoritism to fellow employees, citizens, or stakeholders regardless of the situation. Always follow established policy and procedure. If there is no policy, immediately consult with your supervisor if a situation arises when favoritism may rear its head.
- Fighting – It is highly unlikely you will make it through your career without strong disagreements with a co-worker or stakeholder. Resorting to physical violence is never the appropriate response. It is not only unethical; it will most likely result in the loss of your job and jeopardize future employment possibilities.
- Gifts – It is unethical to accept gifts that influence your decision-making processes. In the event that a gift is dropped off (for example: a fruit basket during the holidays), the best response is to share with everyone in your department.
- Gossip – It is unethical to spread rumors about an employee behind his/her back.
- Harassment – Workplace Harassment in any form is unethical. In order to make sure your employees know what is and is not appropriate, Strategic Government Resources recommends Preventing Workplace Harassment, an online course developed in partnership with the City of Plano, Texas. For complete details, visit SGR’s website.
- Lack of Communication – It is unethical to make decisions based on incomplete information resulting from lack of effort to gather or provide complete information.
- Part-Time or Additional Job – The ethical/non-ethical application to an additional job depends on your position, your organization’s policies, and the demands of the additional job. For example: A firefighter may also own a window cleaning business that he/she operates on his/her off days. That is not unethical. If, however, the firefighter is awarded a contract for cleaning the city’s windows, that is unethical. Working an evening job is not unethical, unless you drive a local government-owned vehicle to the job, leave early to get to your other job on time, use local government resources while at the other job site, etc. It is also unethical to hand out business cards or literature for your “other job” while you are “on the clock” with your local government job. Many organizations prohibit additional employment depending on the position. When in doubt, check with Human Resource.
We will share more unethical behaviors to avoid in our next post.