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There are certain workplace conduct rules and regulations that should be followed no matter the political climate or the area in which the work site is located. While Federal laws cover many of the acceptable conduct activities allowed in the workplace, most conflicts could be avoided by following basic common sense. Most companies have a policy manual that spells out the rules and regulations expected of employees.
When employees are considerate of their fellow workers, they rarely conflict with Federal laws or company policies. The Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” can be used as a guide to acceptable behavior in the workplace. Respect the space of fellow employees and keep personal opinions that don’t have anything to do with work to yourself. A working environment built on mutual respect can provide a pleasant work experience for everyone.
Employees are hired for their skills and talents and their ability to perform their duties competently. Drugs and alcohol impair an individual’s abilities. The use of drugs on the job is illegal and written into company manuals. Federal law allows employers to seek drug testing with no warning when the practice is clearly written in the company policy manual and employees waive their rights upon employment. Most company policy manuals forbid intoxication in the workplace, which is a rule that adheres to common sense principles as well.
Clichés often are ubiquitous because in many cases they are true. “Honesty is the best policy” is another of those sayings that are spelled out in the handbook given to most new employees in business and should be the mantra of every working person. Dishonesty on job applications is often discovered, causing embarrassment and termination. Direct stealing of goods or money from an employer can lead to imprisonment and loss of valuable licenses and certifications. Wasting time, making personal calls on company time and taking items such as office supplies is illegal and should be avoided.
Follow the Chain
One of the toughest rules of workplace conduct to follow often is the need to address the chain of command. Nothing can set up an employee for failure more than to go over the boss’s head. This rule, while not always spelled out in writing, is a code that should be followed whenever possible to maintain good relationships, receive positive reviews and provide job stability. Learn the chain of command at work and try to stick to that hierarchy.
Sexual harassment and religious discrimination are expressly forbidden under Federal law in all workplaces. Creating an environment that is unsafe, hostile or uncomfortable for an employee, whether it is overt or subtle, is an important regulation that usually is spelled out in company policy manuals as well. Sexual harassment includes comments as well as inappropriate pictures or posters hung in plain view. Employees cannot be ridiculed or discriminated against because of their religious beliefs either. An employee can take legal action through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when the employer does not address a sexual or religious complaint.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
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