Workplace Misconduct in the News: Employee, Executive, and Investment Misconduct - Q1 2023

Workplace misconduct is extremely costly for organizations and hard to detect. Forbes recently reported that workplace misconduct cost U.S. businesses $20 Billion in 2021. Needless to say, it’s a huge problem for organizations - and it’s not going to solve itself. One of the key challenges with identifying and preventing misconduct at work is there are so many different stakeholders that can engage in misconduct and put organizations at risk.

One of the challenges of workplace misconduct is that it is ever evolving. We have put together some of the most recent misconduct issues making headlines. We encourage you to take a few minutes and read the summaries to stay up to date on challenges facing fellow employers.

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Employee Misconduct

Robot vacuums are great ways for people to have clean homes without people having to vacuum themselves. But, one robot vacuum company, iRobot, came into the news when the Roomba vacuums recorded people in sensitive situations - like sitting on the toilet - and then their employees shared the sensitive photos on social media. While the news just broke on this, this type of employee misconduct is likely to cost Roomba their reputation, legal action, and financial implications.

Read the details here: A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

In another instance, Clackamas County reported the charges against three former Oregon Department of Transportation workers and one spouse for abusing their official positions to purchase and resell equipment for personal profits. The scheme lasted from 2004 to 2020 and is estimated to cost taxpayers $5-6 million.

Read the details here: Three former ODOT employees and spouse sentenced for theft, computer crime and official misconduct

Executive Misconduct

The Suns have been the center of workplace misconduct scandals for a while now. Former owner, suspended-governor Robert Sarver, ended up selling both Phoenix NBA and WNBA teams after the NBA released findings of a workplace misconduct investigation regarding Sarvers’ discrimination and use of racist and sexist language and behaviors. While in the middle of their ownership transition, the Suns CEO, Jason Rowley, is now facing misconduct allegations of his own for “verbal abuse, retaliation, and intimidation.”

Read more details here: Suns CEO Jason Rowley Won't Resign Despite Allegations of Workplace Misconduct

Steve Easterbrook used to be the CEO of McDonald’s, up until he was fired due to his sex scandal back in 2019. More recently, both McDonald’s and its former CEO are once again in the news as the SEC charges Easterbrook for lying about the extent of this misconduct at work. The EEOC estimates that employers paid out $137 million to employees alleging harassment in 2020.

Read more details here: SEC Charges Former McDonald’s CEO Easterbrook For Lying About Extent Of Workplace Misconduct

Investment Misconduct

Employees and executives aren’t the only ones who engage in misconduct. Founders like FTX’s Samuel Bankman-Fried recently made the news for defrauding investors and the public out of billions of dollars. Recent reports estimate that the median loss among frauds committed by owner/executives was $573,000.

Read more details here: SEC Charges Samuel Bankman-Fried with Defrauding Investors in Crypto Asset Trading Platform FTX

As you can see, workplace misconduct can have a costly and long-lasting impact on both organizations and individuals. Organizations can and should take steps to prevent these types of inappropriate behaviors at work.

To learn how Fama works with companies to prevent this, click here.

Learn more about workplace misconduct here.