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North Dakota Human Resources Management Services

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600 E Boulevard Ave
Dept 113
Bismarck, ND 58505-0120

Phone · 701.328.3290
Fax · 701.328.1475
Email · hrms@nd.gov

Employment Verification · 701.328.2677

State Employees

Current News for Employees

This Month's Spotlight on Training: Ethics

What does it mean to be ethical?   Wikipedia says that it is “a branch of philosophy that concerns itself with right conduct”.  In this course, we take a brief look at some ethical philosophies, but will spend the majority of time addressing ethics in the workplace primarily as behavior – what we do in certain situations that involve choices.  Some choices are very easy to make (whether or not to steal a car or burn someone’s house down); some choices are not as black and white.  You will explore some of these “grayer” issues in our ethics course. You will also have a chance to identify your own “Guiding Principles”, explore what the causes are of ethical dilemmas, determine a process for making ethical decisions, and review case studies involving ethical decision-making. 

Employers are being scrutinized for ethical violations like never before. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 strongly encourages training on an organization’s code of conduct and requires education about systems available to employees to report ethical violations. Additionally, federal sentencing guidelines mandate training on ethics and legal compliance for all organizations as one of the two ways in which an organization’s sentence for criminal misconduct might be mitigated.

The federal sentencing guidelines clearly state that employers can be held liable for their employees’ illegal conduct. Employers can substantially mitigate potential fines and punishment for criminal violations if they take proactive steps to prevent unethical and illegal conduct through an effective ethics and compliance program, including training. Conversely, the lack of an effective ethics and compliance program can be used by a fact finder to increase fines and liability.

The return on investment
Ethics training can prove an essential defense should an ethics lapse occur, demonstrating to an enforcement agency that your organization took ethics seriously enough to train your entire workforce. Such good-faith efforts can make regulators less likely to assess fines or penalties and can lessen public relations damage to the organization.

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What Every State Employee Needs to Know

The What Every State Employee Needs to Know brochure is now available online.

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