There are many situations in which we encourage reporting. Browse the sections below for descriptions of possible issues to address.
What should I report?
Compliance and Regulation Violation
A compliance violation is an offense or interruption of legal and standard operating procedures usually due to negligence and failure to comply with established protocols, rules, or laws. Although the offense is contrary to an obligation or ordinance, it is usually not a crime. Violations may also involve regulations about hiring, firing, promotion, discipline, discrimination, and benefits of employees. Typical workplace violations: unsanitary conditions, unsafe working procedures, employees to work without providing designated breaks, or improper use of equipment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the Federal regulations, conducts inspections, and imposes fines for compliance/safety violations.
Racism. Prejudice. Intolerance. A biased person showing favoritism toward one or more individuals may be discriminating against all other individuals; the person discriminating is showing unequal or unfair treatment against those not receiving special treatment. Discrimination may involve the denying of normal privileges or rights. The motivation for discrimination against an individual usually involves the individual's race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, gender (sex), age, religion, nationality, or personal attributes such as level of education, political affiliation, physical appearance or handicap, marital status, or sexual preference. Someone who makes racial and sexist slurs or other demeaning remarks is discriminating.
Theft. Misappropriation. Stealing. Larceny. Embezzlement is the willful and intentional taking of money, or property, usually from one's employer by a person who has been entrusted with the money or other assets. The embezzler has custody or control over the asset being stolen and converts the asset to their own use. Embezzlement is considered in the category of fraud.
Direct or indirect damage nature by a willful or accidental act of man is environmental damage. The ecosystem of plants and/or animals has been or could be altered or upset by the incident. The damage may be either immediately obvious, or it could have a subtle latent impact only apparent long after the incident. The incident might affect wildlife, the atmosphere, or water systems (rain/snow runoff, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, groundwater), or soil. The illegal or unintentional discharge of pollutants, poisons, hazardous wastes, radioactive chemicals, or any other contaminants into the biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, or lithosphere that kills or does harm, or has the potential to destroy plant or animal life, or upsets the balance of nature, is considered environmental damage.
Ethical conduct is doing what is right. An ethics violation is a wrong dealing with a moral duty, honest virtues, or professional standards. An ethics violation is an act that defies decent behavior or a governing principle. Violations are activities not conforming to or in accordance with established conduct of right and wrong and moral character. An unethical action usually occurs when someone does not follow his or her conscience. The violator abandons integrity, and does not conform to higher moral standards deemed appropriate by society. An example of an ethics violation is the acceptance of a gift or gratuity of value in order to sway the opinion of the receiver. A member of management who knows that there are safety violations in the workplace and does not try to resolve them is conducting business with poor ethics. A company that does not treat its customers or employees with dignity and respect is showing poor ethical standards. A business that knowingly receives payment twice due to an oversight of the client but does not refund the second payment is unethical. An employee who has first-hand knowledge that a co-worker is being sexually harassed by her supervisor, is not being ethical if this unlawful activity is not reported to higher management. A female employee who asks her boyfriend co-worker to clock her out because she wants to leave early is not only acting unethically but is also stealing time.
Fraud incorporates the offense and deceitful practice of obtaining money or property, or of injuring another person, through intentional use of false pretenses, false documents, or misrepresentation. An illegal conversion of assets or property of value to one's own use, but may not include embezzlement, forgery, or counterfeiting. A fraudulent act may include the use of misleading statements and the intentional perversion of the truth. A cheat, a swindler, a scam artist, an impersonator, a person who bribes, and a person acting in bad faith all commit fraud. Rigging and bait-and-switch are examples of fraud. A person who distorts or fabricates information in order to deprive the rightful owner of assets commits fraud. A person who writes a worthless check also commits fraud. Lastly, computer Internet scams and Cyber crime are rapidly becoming significant elements of fraud.
Harassment is the repeated annoyance and infliction of emotional distress by verbal or physical abuse. The verbal abuse may be insults and crude remarks, or other unwanted on-going conversation of an inappropriate nature. Harassment can include acts of threatening, intimidating, stalking, taunting, gesturing, staring, molesting, pestering, hang-up telephone calls, and obscene telephone calls, postal mail, or e-mails. Annoying or alarming acts may include petty vandalism or other destruction of property, dirty tricks, profanity, and sexual advances. Physical contact may be present with kicks, shoves, or other unwanted touching. The victim may be challenged or provoked to respond by the repeated threats or unwanted contact or communication of the persecutor. Harassment is done at an inconvenient time of the day in order to further annoy the victim. Harassment is a crime and serves no legitimate purpose.
Mistreatment is being treated differently than prescribed by company policy or by law or by the ethical norms of society. Mistreatment might include physical or verbal abuse, bullying, injuring, persecution, tormenting, or harassment. Or, may involve more subtle behavior such as neglect, isolation, intentional withholding of training, being passed over for raises or promotions, wrongful discipline or termination, or discrimination.
Any incident that you’d like to report that you do not feel belongs in one of the other 19 incident type categories.
Poor housekeeping refers to inadequate attention to cleanliness, controlling clutter, and/or organization of the physical environment of the workplace. The methods of handling or storing material or equipment may be substandard according to industry standards. Employees may be required to work in unhealthy environments where they could be exposed to dangerous machinery, filth, pollutants, contaminants, unsafe chemicals, dirty air, excessive noise, heat or cold, and toxic substances. Cleanups for spills are delayed or inadequate, or accidents involving chemicals are unreported. Housekeeping also applies to the risk of having an accident or suffering an injury due to the placement or storage of equipment and materials, or not having proper protective clothing. Unsafe temporary or long-term storage of raw materials, office or manufacturing equipment, or finished product can lead to unacceptable risk for injuries to workers. The business or manufacturer is unduly impacted by the need to continually react to the disorganization of the operation. Good housekeeping includes proper signage for doors, walkways, chemicals, restricted or special areas.
Treachery. Subversion. Harm. Mischief. The deliberate, willful, and malicious destruction of, or damage and impairment to, equipment or property, or interference with normal processes, belonging to another, usually an employer, in order to cripple, shut down, or reduce the output of a facility or its operation. Sabotage is usually carried out by one or more disgruntled workers whose purpose is to undermine, ruin, or destroy the efforts, achievements, accomplishments, or products of the employer.
There are many types of securities. Most are stocks, bonds, notes, warrants, debentures, negotiable instruments, certificates showing a person's right to money or property, or documents representing a share or interest in a company or debt owed by a company or a government entity. A security may be evidence of obligations to pay money or of a right to participate in corporate asset distributions or dividends. Federal law provides for the registration, complete description, and transaction of all securities that are sold to the public. Federal law governs the brokers and markets where securities are bought and sold. Violations of securities laws usually involve the intentional sale of worthless securities, insider trading, and stock price manipulations.
Unwanted conversation, obscene gestures, comments, jokes, or touching of a sexual or lewd nature that is perpetrated by either a male or female on another party either male or female. It includes everything from pressure to accept a date to rape. Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination. It may also include staring/leering, whistling, sexual advances, the seeking of sexual favors, or the demanding of sexual favors by a supervisor from his or her employee in return for continued employment or a raise or promotion or other favors or benefits.
The illegal or inappropriate use, usually excessive use, of drugs whether purchased legally (prescription) or illegally (street drugs). Substance abuse is also the misuse of any substance, whether controlled by Federal law or not, such that when put into one's body it is contrary to the substance's intended use. Substance abuse is a chemical dependence on drugs (addiction), or the compulsive behavior to use any chemical substance, such as alcohol, marijuana, narcotics, amphetamines, depressants, stimulants, aerosol sprays (inhalants), hallucinogens, or prescription drugs. Illicit drugs can be ingested, inhaled, or injected. Such drugs and alcohol interfere with the brain's ability to receive and send messages and can cause vital organ damage. A person is a substance abuser if they periodically or continually use alcohol or illicit drugs and are "under the influence" several times a week or several times a day. Drug use is usually continued by the abuser to prevent undesirable withdrawal affects. The more a drug is abused the more the user's body builds a tolerance to it. The drug affects the abuser's mood and/or behavior for the worse. Common excuses for the abuse of drugs range from that of reducing pain, stress, depression, and anxiety to that of increasing pleasure. Over-use of these substances may cause physical and/or mental impairment that affects overall health, attitude (usually negative), judgment, balance, productivity, attendance, and general work performance. Extreme over-use can result in death. Substance abuse thus poses a major liability problem and a very serious safety issue in the workplace. Most employers have in their workers' policy handbook the statement that the use, possession, sale, transfer, acceptance, or purchase of illegal drugs or alcohol at any time on company property is strictly prohibited.
Stealing. Larceny. Pilfering. Embezzlement. Shoplifting. Robbery. Hijacking. Extortion. Swindle. Theft is the illegal taking of property belonging to someone else without consent. Theft of services and time are also types of theft. Consent may be obtained by trickery, deception, or false pretense. The intent is to permanently deprive the owner of property, and then use this property as one's own. Consent may also be obtained by coercion or intimidation.
Threats of Violence
Threats of violence are words or actions of an unlawful intent that may be overt (clearly expressed) or covert (hidden or veiled). Threats to inflict bodily harm on someone, or to damage someone's property, are made by an aggressor to intimidate, terrorize, frighten, harass, taunt, bully, or coerce. Some threats are made against a supervisor or company in retaliation for an unfavorable decision, action, or performance rating. A threat by a bully or thug is made against a weaker person simply for the purpose of showing power or control. A threat of violence can also be made in order to extort favors, influence, or anything else of value from the target of the threat. A threat may include the display of a deadly weapon. Anyone who communicates the desire to harm another person, whether a weapon is brandished or not, commits disorderly conduct. In a credible threat, the person declaring the threat has the ability to inflict harm.
Unfair Labor Practices
A labor practice can be labeled or declared unfair when it is in, or purported to be in, violation of collective bargaining agreements/contracts between employees and employers. The unfair practice may be an illegal policy by an employer that contradicts or defies negotiated settlements, rights, entitlements, and privileges for workers usually by a union. The issues of concern in unfair labor practice are usually environmental working conditions, safety, schedule, leave, security, wages, overtime pay, tenure, seniority, age or handicaps of workers, strikes, boycotts, picketing, discipline, representation, elections, fringe benefits, and grievances. Management's response to workplace misconduct issues may also be involved. If an unfair labor dispute arises, the issue may go to the National Labor Relations Board for resolution. The Federal laws and agencies that affect labor disputes and relations include the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938), the Labor-Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Act), the National Mediation Board (1934), and the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act, 1935).
Unsafe Working Conditions
Employee working conditions are regulated by local, state, and principally by Federal laws. A violation of these laws could produce an unsafe environment that should be addressed by local or Federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspectors. If the workplace contains conditions where employees may be injured or killed, or their short-term or long-term health may be adversely impacted, then it is incumbent upon management of the business or company to remedy the situation(s). Injuries to workers could be immediately obvious, such as physical trauma, or it could be long-term and only become apparent after months or years of medical testing, studying, and monitoring of the apparent victim(s).
The unsafe condition(s) could be caused by a single worker, by a team of workers, or by company policy; that is, it is due to a lack of policy, guidelines, or planning. An unsafe condition might be: poor lighting or signage; unstable stacking or storing of materials, product, or equipment; exposure to hazardous materials or contaminants; exposure to excessive noise; lack of protection against weather elements; needless exposure to dangerous machinery; the use of defective or inferior-quality tools or equipment; walkways, floors, or stairways in disrepair; lack of physical security and/or security devices; and, intentional use of shortcuts in any process to save time at the expense of safety.
Vandalism is the willful, malicious, and deliberate damage, destruction, or defacing of private or public property. The emphasis is on a crime against property, not people. Vandalism is the act of ransacking, breaking, littering, or spoiling property. The vandal is usually motivated by revenge, contempt, a need to vent anger, or just the thrill of committing an illegal criminal act without any other justification.
Vandalism examples are almost infinite in number, but some specific ones are: spray painting walls, vehicles, fences, monuments, street signs, etc. with graffiti, turning over refuse containers or dumping trash, breaking glass windows, scratching ("keying") the paint on cars, letting faucets run or breaking water pipes to create flooding or changing the wording on signs or documents to alter the meaning, usually to something vulgar.
Waste of Time and Resources
A worker who is wasting time is "goofing off" and purposely not working while on-the-clock and being paid. An employee who intentionally works slowly to reduce production or miss deadlines, and who does not perform his or her duties as assigned, or according to the job description, is committing time theft. This unproductive employee may be spending too much time socializing and talking to co-workers, or using the telephone for personal business, using the Internet for other than business purposes, or conducting other activities on company time and property that have no relationship to the job. Use or over-use of materials or expendable goods in a reckless and unreasonable manner that increases costs and leads to price increases and lower profit margins.