TRying to understand what just happened to me... This is a note to self as to why it is in reality a difficult question to answer in real life, but in an interview, you have to give a straight shooter answer... And since I over-analyze a lot of things, as we know, I tend to do it in the wrong situations as well! Like in a freakin' interview
But, as the semi-intellectual person that I am, I need to make sense of this and here is why it is not an actual easy issue! Especially when you deal with other people doing things not so ethical at work. It happens all the time right? Do you get up on you high horse and report, like everyone who does a long distance phone call on the company's bill? Or look at facebook? Or what if you suspect somebody has smoked pot on their break? Gawd knows that happens every single day on construction!!!! Do you just go ahead and report half the freakin crew? Cus that's pretty much how it goes here in good ol Western CA...
Of course if I knew someone was stealing material from a job site, or tools, I would report them! I am not that naive. I am just trying to see why the heck I responded so poorly in my interview.
Anyway, here is the article on the subject:
Unethical behavior in the workplace should be reported
It is a sad truth that the employees of just about every business, in every business, will occasionally encounter team members who are taking part in unethical behaviors. Such unethical behaviors include a wide variety of different activities. Among the most common unethical business behaviors of employees are making long-distance calls on business lines, duplicating software for use at home, falsifying the number of hours worked, or much more serious and illegal practices, such as embezzling money from the business, or falsifying business records.
Though there is sometimes a difference between behaviors that are unethical and activities that are actually illegal, it is up to the business itself to decide how it deals with unethical behavior - legal or not.
Many employees find that discovering unethical behavior among co-workers actually tests their own values and ethical behaviors. After all, unethical behavior that is not illegal frequently falls in a grey area between right and wrong that make it difficult to decide what to do when it is encountered. Furthermore, different people have different views regarding what is ethical and what is unethical. For example, some people feel that it is alright to tell a little "white lie", or to make one long distance call on the company's nickel, as long as they can justify it in their mind.
When employees discover other employees doing something that they know is wrong by the company's standards, their own sense of what is right and what is wrong instantly comes into question. That employee needs to consider how s/he feels about that particular activity, as well as informing about that activity, or turning a blind eye.
Even by deciding to do something about it, the employee who has discovered the unethical behavior is presented with a number of difficult choices. Should the employee speak to the individual directly, or should the employee head directly to a company supervisor?
To make this decision a bit easier, many companies have adopted several techniques that allow for the management of unethical activities. The first step is to create a company policy, in writing, that is read and signed by each employee. This erases most feelings of ambiguity when it comes to deciding what to do after witnessing an unethical behavior.
The second is to give a clear outline of what is expected of the person who has discovered the unethical behavior. It should include the person who should be contacted, and how to go about doing it. With clear instructions, there will be less hesitation in reporting unethical activities, and then they can be dealt with quickly and relatively easily, before they develop into overwhelming issues.
Furthermore, the repercussions of unethical behaviors should be clearly stated. This way, both the person doing the activity, and the witness to the activity will be well aware of the way that things will be dealt with, and there won't be any risk of someone not reporting unethical behavior because they're afraid that the culprit will be unfairly treated.
Communication is key in the proper management of unethical behavior in today 's workplace.