Code of con­duct guides em­ploy­ees around con­flict

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE - COLLEEN COATES

THE pub­lic has been con­di­tioned to think that con­flict-of-in­ter­est is­sues only ap­ply to politi­cians and other gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials held to high eth­i­cal stan­dards. But the truth is that these is­sues are rel­e­vant to ev­ery work­place and af­fect all em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees.

When­ever an em­ployee finds them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where their in­ter­ests are at odds with their al­le­giance to their em­ployer, it is con­sid­ered a con­flict of in­ter­est. While most em­ploy­ees will thank­fully never en­gage in bribery or other forms of il­le­gal be­hav­iour for their own per­sonal gain, they may one day come to an eth­i­cal cross­roads and not know whether to turn left or right be­cause they don’t un­der­stand the prin­ci­ples of con­flict of in­ter­est.

Some ex­am­ples of sit­u­a­tions where there may be a con­flict of in­ter­est:

A su­per­vi­sor be­gins dat­ing an em­ployee who re­ports di­rectly to him.

An em­ployee starts a side com­pany to pro­vide sim­i­lar ser­vices for sim­i­lar clients as those of her main em­ployer.

A man­ager gives a fam­ily mem­ber or close friend a con­tract over a more qual­i­fied or more favourably priced ven­dor.

A mem­ber of the board of direc­tors ac­cepts fees or pro­vides pro­fes­sional ad­vice to a di­rect com­peti­tor of the com­pany on whose board she sits.

In short, a con­flict of in­ter­est arises when an in­di­vid­ual’s per­sonal in­ter­ests (or those of their fam­ily or a busi­ness as­so­ciate) sway their work­place de­ci­sions and im­pair their abil­ity to act in the best in­ter­ests of the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Be­cause of the risk such con­flict poses to a com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion, em­ploy­ers have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­sur­ing em­ploy­ees un­der­stand the eth­i­cal stan­dards by which they must abide.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.