Workplace Misconduct in the News: September 2023

Research from Cornerstone OnDemand found that it only takes 5% of employees engaging in workplace misconduct to see significant business impacts. Our new research on The State of Misconduct at Work found that 11% of candidates last year were engaging in misconduct. 

When misconduct isn’t properly prevented, identified, and managed, companies experience impacts spanning across personnel issues, to legal recourse, to financial losses, and even reputational damages. At that time, companies start seeing their names and employees in new headlines. 

The research reported that the top industries for misconduct were Media and Entertainment, Consumer Services (retail and hospitality), and Education. In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at examples of workplace misconduct making the news in those industries. 

Media and Entertainment

Nearly 30% of candidates in Media and Entertainment were found engaging in workplace misconduct. Considering, it’s not surprising to see headlines like the ones below:

  • ‘Below Deck’ Accused of Covering Up Gary King’s Sexual Misconduct (Rolling Stone)
  • Jimmy Fallon issues apology to staff following bombshell report of toxic workplace, erratic behavior (Daily News)
  • Dancers suing Lizzo committed to additional tour dates even after alleged harassment, documents say (NBC)

Retail and Hospitality 

Coming in at #2 – almost 27% of consumer services candidates were found engaging in misconduct. With headlines like these, it’s no wonder retail and hospitality organizations are struggling to attract and retain talent. 

  • America’s Battle With Shoplifting Is Getting Dangerous for Workers: Death of CVS store manager highlights worst risks to staff confronting surge in retail thefts (WSJ)
  • Chipotle to Pay $400,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit (EEOC)
  • Sweetgreen managers in New York used the N-word daily, racial discrimination lawsuit says (NBC)


Over 20% of candidates in education were found engaging in misconduct. The severity of these allegations, charges, and outcomes shows just how much work the education sector needs to do to better support students and educators.  

  • Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker accused of sexually harassing rape survivor (USA Today)
  • Quebec school districts are improperly handling teacher misconduct cases: report (Global News)
  • Board votes to terminate SLO High School teacher accused of misconduct with underage student (KSBY)
  • School employees who sexually harass students would face felony charge under proposed bill: Plan aims to close a loophole in law that allows teachers to say things to students that would be considered sexual misconduct in workplace (Wisconsin Public Radio)

While misconduct may seem like an unpreventable problem, the truth is there are several steps companies can take to prevent, identify, and manage misconduct in the workplace. CFOs, for example, can work with CHROs and CPOs to support organizations in fostering cultures of respect and aid talent acquisition in getting the right tools in place to hire the right people as a measure to protect the bottom line.

For more information on misconduct at work and steps Talent Acquisition can take to protect their organizations and improve their quality of hire, read the full research here and take this short quiz to assess your risk factors