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Ethics Discipline

The application of discipline for a violation of our ethics standards is mandatory, but, it must be appropriate. Not too harsh and not too lenient. All mitigating and aggravating circumstances must be properly weighed. It must be consistently applied with no double standard for super stars or managers. Similar disciplines should be imposed for similar offenses committed under similar circumstances.

When properly applied, discipline should not be used as a measure of the effectiveness of the program or as a threat. It will serve as notice that there are serious consequences for intentional wrongdoing, and will demonstrate that the Laboratory is committed to integrity as an internal part of our culture.

In considering appropriate discipline in ethics matters, it is essential that total accountability for violations be appropriately assessed:

The following discussion very clearly describes the multitude of factors which must be considered before imposing discipline on an employee.

Assessing Employee Responsibility:

  • Did the employee know what the right action was?
  • Did the employee have correct work instructions and adequate supervisory direction?
  • Was the employee properly trained?
  • Did the employee intentionally take the wrong action?
  • Was the employee directed to take the wrong action?

Assessing Management's Responsibility:

  • Did management direct wrong action?
  • Did management direct the right action?
  • Did management's actions imply that "getting the job done any way you haveto" was acceptable or necessary?
  • Did management acquiesce, allow, or otherwise condone the actions of theemployee?
  • Did the organizational climate (employee treatment, respect, fairness, openness, teamwork, past history) support doing the right thing?
  • Did management fail to recognize visible indicators of potential wrongdoing?
  • Did management fail to act when they recognized visible indicators?

Other Contributing Factors:

  • Were written practices, instructions, drawings, equipment, appropriate and sufficient to promote right actions?
  • Was the right thing to do made clear?
  • Were there conflicting practices and/or polices?
  • Is there a history of prior discipline involving the affected individual or the manager/supervisor involved?


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