As the business world becomes more diverse and expands across national boundaries, concerns about security and integrity in the workplace have never been higher. Stakeholder expectations for ethical business operations continue to rise, placing more responsibility on organisations to employ people who have high ethical standards.
To safeguard their organisations, many organisations incorporate background screening checks into their recruitment process. While the benefits of these are clear, there are legal ramifications which arise when a criminal record is revealed. Refusing to employ an individual because they have a criminal record is against the law in Australia.
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Fraud and misconduct “grey areas” in the workplace
Yesterday’s Human Capital Australia magazine outlined a recent decision by Fair Work Australia (FWA) and the implications for dealing with fraud and misconduct in the workplace.
A supermarket store manager was dismissed for taking groceries without paying, however the dismissal was overturned by FWA and he was awarded more than $15,000 in compensation as the matter was not properly investigated. The manager claimed that he intended to pay for the groceries at a later stage and in the absence of an appropriate investigation there was inadequate proof that this was not the case.
In his judgement Commissioner Ian Cambridge said that a “proper, comprehensive and balanced” consideration should have been provided before dismissing the employee. A warning or dismissal with a notice period may have been a more suitable response. The supermarket should have undertaken a thorough investigation to determine whether misconduct had occurred and to ensure their rights and the rights of the employee were protected.
This ruling has a number of important implications for employers. The main implication relates to properly investigating alleged misconduct. Another important implication is that employers should be careful about who they employ in the first place.
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” has never been more appropriate. Dealing with misconduct once it has occurred can be fraught with difficulty, as this case highlights. It is much easier to try to create a workplace where misconduct is unlikely to occur.
RightPeople has a range of psychometric tests designed to identify people who are most and least likely to engage in unethical and illegal behaviour within organisations. These tests look at attitudes, behaviours and other risk factors associated with wrongdoing. It’s called the Risk Management Profile (RMP). Specifically, the RMP identifies integrity, honesty, poor impulse control, stress tolerance and conscientiousness. Used in combination with our personality inventory it can be an invaluable tool for safeguarding your workplace against fraud and misconduct.
Contact us to find out more.
A recent front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wallace, 2011) “Injuries Show the Dangers of Childcare” highlights the serious problems that can arise when employees are unaware of, or do not follow, organisational safety procedures.
The report indicated that there were 13,300 potential health and safety breaches in child care centres in NSW in 2009-10, resulting in 1,000 children requiring medical treatment and one death.
While your business may have nothing in common with a childcare centre, it is important to realise that workplace injuries can happen in any organisation. According to a WorkCover report, across NSW in 2008-09 there were 139 deaths resulting from workplace accidents and over 133,000 employment injuries reported (WorkCover NSW, 2010). These occurred across a range of industries, including ‘low risk’ areas such as administration and insurance.
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The Australian Psychological Society defines workplace bullying as the experience of aggressive and negative behaviours towards one or more employees that results in a hostile work environment. To be classified as bullying, such negative acts must be regular (usually at least weekly) and persistent (continuing for a 6 month period or longer).
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