Some unethical business practices include taking bribes and giving friends business contracts. These practices are unethical because they are not transparent and prevent competition. Unethical business practices place businesses at a disadvantage, and they damage images.
Most businesses have policies against unethical business practices. Employees agree to avoid unethical business practices during onboarding. Companies terminate employees who ignore the ethics policy because they did not abide by the agreement.
Businesses do not just discourage unethical behavior at the bottom of the business hierarchy; managers cannot commit unethical practices either. Unethical practices for managers include insider trading and releasing proprietary information to competitors.
Employees who know about someone doing something unethical in business can call their business' hotline for the corporate headquarters. These hotlines allow employees to report unethical activity anonymously and without recourse. Most corporate hotlines are available 24 hours a day, which allows employees to call at their own convenience.
For some companies, having ethics is relative. For instance, having a profitable business that only pays minimum wage, instead of a living wage, is not unethical to some companies. To the public, paying minimum wage is unethical because employees that do not make a living wage are supported by taxpayers through social programs, such as Medicaid. The employer is not breaking any laws, but ethically, their behavior is controversial.