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Misconduct left unchecked by half of employees

Misconduct in British organisations is being allowed to carry on unreported. One in five British employees was aware of misconduct at their workplace last year, according to research carried out by the Institute of Business Ethics, but barely half of them (51 per cent) reported it.

Experts say a lack of confidence in an organisation's disciplinary procedures deters many employees from coming forward. Some cannot see the point of speaking out, believing that no corrective action will be taken. The result is a sense of indifference, and a perception that making a report will have little effect.

It's not just petty offences that are going unchecked. Theft was the most frequently mentioned type of misconduct, and there was a marked increase in employees saying they had witnessed workplace discrimination last year. Both stealing and unlawful discrimination are often regarded as 'gross misconduct' and could be serious enough to justify dismissal.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, called the report 'worrying' and said that HR professionals needed to 'create an environment in which wrongdoing can be reported'.

Acas provides extensive information and guidance for organisations on how to set up effective disciplinary procedures in Discipline and grievances at work: The Acas guide, which complements the statutory Acas Discipline and grievance - Acas Code of PracticeDiscipline and Grievance - Essential Acas training for Managers will give managers confidence in handling disciplinary issues and helps ensure they have effective procedures place.

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