Cheating affects the workplace like a virus, and the results are wide-reaching, leaving you and your colleagues without an easy cure. A co-worker might not think fudging the books, overcharging customers or filing erroneous reports is a big deal, but those malpractices can lead to headaches for you and your employer. If you suspect someone is cheating at your workplace, it's best to notify your supervisors before things spiral out of control.
Distrust and Skepticism
Cheating often results in distrust in the workplace, even for those who perform their responsibilities with integrity. Discovering that a co-worker is guilty of misconduct leads to skepticism that maybe she's not the only one who's cheated. Possibly, a co-worker's cheating practices make it look like you were also involved. If a cheating colleague steals money and your cash drawer comes up short at the end of the day, it might look like you're to blame. Or, it might be difficult to determine who's responsible for falsifying financial documents if your entire team worked on the project. Cheating creates a breeding ground for distrust.
Cheating makes your company a liability risk. Customers, patients and clients might sue your employer if they find out that employees cheated when preparing tax returns, filing medical insurance claims, making financial investments, creating corrupt financial reports or making fraudulent real estate purchases. In recent years, high-profile companies like Enron and WorldCom were forced to declare bankruptcy due to their cheating ways, according to the technology news website Tech2Date.com. Workplace cheaters make it difficult for everyone involved because it puts the whole company at risk.
Stealing pencils or staplers from work might seem like harmless conduct, but it can result in more extreme cheating activities. An article from "Time" magazine titled "Why (Almost) All of Us Cheat and Steal" states, "Small dishonesties matter because they can lead to larger ones." Cheating affects the workplace because it can escalate, leading to full-blown corruption. It's not your responsibility to play the role of police woman at your job, but you might want to confront a cheating employee if you see him steal something small or intentionally fudge a number. Your kind and polite reprimand might serve as a reminder that cheating isn't worth it, saving him from future cheating scandals. If the offense is severe or recurring, you need to notify your supervisor of the misconduct.
Workplace cheating can lead to relationship problems. Cheating activities might be a byproduct of the work environment, such as a co-worker cheating in a romantic relationship with another co-worker. This type of cheating leads to drama in the workplace and often forces uninvolved employees to take sides. Gossip, bitter feelings, name calling and damaged relationships are often the result of cheating workplace relationships. Once co-workers have a falling out over relationship issues, tension can make daily work life almost unbearable. You might be torn between compassion for one and hatred for another, making it difficult to work together, maintain a high level of productivity and react in an unbiased way to workplace situations.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.