In each IntegrityStar edition, we highlight some frequently asked questions. In this edition, we provide questions and answers related to this editions’ article titled, “Dangerous Dialing”…
Did Rick use the IntegrityLine appropriately?
Absolutely not. Rather than using the IntegrityLine to report a legitimate case of ethical wrongdoing, he used it as a means of attempting to intimidate his boss. A complaint such as this, even though it is false, could damage Stu’s reputation.
What could he have done instead?
As soon as he realized that he didn’t understand the training, Rick should have gone to his boss to request additional training, tutoring or coaching in order to handle his increased duties. He also could have changed his perspective on the situation: instead of seeing his boss as an adversary, he could have looked at him as a resource.
What can Rick do now to improve the situation?
Rick must make every effort to re-establish his boss’s trust, to learn what he needs to in order to perform his job effectively, and to demonstrate his ability to handle all of the new responsibilities of his position. Going forward, he needs to take responsibility for his own behavior rather than blaming others for his difficulties.
Does Stu have a right to retaliate against Rick for what he did?
No. Although he has a reason to feel disappointed or resentful toward Rick for making a false report to the IntegrityLine, Stu does not have a right to retaliate against his employee. Stu needs to show the utmost professionalism and ethical leadership. He should discuss the best approach with his own manager or with HR.
Keys to Remember
- The IntegrityLine should be used only to clarify concerns and to report legitimate cases of actual or suspected wrongdoing, such as violations of the Code of Conduct or university regulations and policies. It should never be used to attempt to manipulate another person, harm that individual’s reputation, or impede his or her ability to do an effective job.
- Making false reports against co-workers is serious business, and can lead to disciplinary action, including termination.
- Retaliation against an employee for making a call to the IntegrityLine is never acceptable and could itself turn into a legitimate ethical complaint. Performance issues as well as inappropriate or unethical conduct should be addressed directly, using official university resources and policies.
- If you’re ever unsure of what to do, you can always contact University Compliance and Ethics for guidance.