Speak Up: Unethical Behavior at Work


Another career question from the interwebs.

Laurie, a coworker just told me she’s doing really unethical stuff. Do I report it, anonymously report it, or ignore it? I want what she’s doing to stop but I don’t want anything to do with it. And I’m actively job hunting for something else.

This is the kind of questions that was asked during the 2008 financial crisis and no one answered it properly. So let me take a stab.

Tell her to stop. Tell her you’re offended. Tell her to knock it off.

That’s the first step.

Peer pressure kills unethical behavior. It’s your obligation as an adult and a colleague to speak with her and tell her to stop behaving like an asshole. But we live in a passive-aggressive society and we expect other people to solve our problems or take care of issues like this — and that’s why six people in NYC can ruin a financial system and destroy the wealth that was built over a hundred years by middle-class workers in America.

Speak up, dear reader. Talk to your co-worker.

But it sounds like that window of opportunity is lost. So option #2? Report it.

I don’t care if you report it anonymously. I don’t care if you stick a note under the door of your boss. I don’t if you rent a billboard. Just report it. But do me a favor and tell two people — your boss and the CEO, your boss and her boss, your boss and the CFO — to create a situation where someone in the chain of command must have a conversation about it with another person.

Christ. Can’t you people behave yourselves at work?

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