What Are Ethical Standards in the Workplace?

Ethical standards in the workplace are the rules and guidelines through which a company and its employees determine the appropriate methods for conduct and actions both internally and externally, including the treatment of others, fair compensation for work or sourcing materials through legal means. Each company maintains its own ethical standards according to its industry and size, with some standards serving as mandatory local or federal regulations.

A company determines its ethical standards in the workplace by developing a list of core values by which it wishes to conduct businesses, typically consisting of the ways it treats its employees and customers. In terms of ethical standards for employees, this may include creating a fair and healthy working environment that allows employees to obtain the proper compensation for efforts, such as earning a wage in line with the requirements of the job and receiving overtime pay when appropriate. This may include actual working conditions as well, with each company creating its thresholds for ensuring employee safety.

Some ethical standards may also involve the materials the company uses in its products to avoid putting animals or natural environments in danger for the sake of collecting materials. For example, a food manufacturer may refuse to use certain plant products in its goods because the harvesting process endangers local wildlife in that area. Similarly, ethical standards in the workplace may include the methods employees treat customers, such as through customer service interactions or the use of personal information.