Is your coworker abusing company facilities?

For any organization to succeed, the employees as well as leaders must have an ethical approach. An ethical challenge that I have encountered in my professional life is that of waste and abuse. One of my coworkers would constantly use printer paper to print large numbers of pages for personal use using the company printer. The content of the printed pages would include tickets, documents, articles and even books. I always found that very inconsiderate and was not quite sure if I should be talking to him about it or if I should let my supervisor know. I was a bit confused if this would amount to a breach of any of the company’s policies. 

The code of ethics that I selected is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Point number eleven clearly mentions that employees shall disclose fraud, waste and corruption. A company’s policy of disclosure of any waste and abuse is very important for the sustainability of an organization. The government sustains billions of dollars in losses due to fraud, waste and abuse in relation to Medicare services (Chen, Blumenthal, & Jena 2018). 

The factors that contributed to this issue is the fact that there is no system in place that can monitor the content being printed by employees. Due to the lack of monitoring there is a potential for abuse as in this situation. Although the effect on the organization is minimal, abusing the facility of a printer does lead to a small amount of loss to the company and it poses more of an ethical issue with the employee having the potential to misuse other facilities also. 

The issue can be resolved by adhering to the code of conduct. The actions of the employee should be reported to the supervisor so appropriate action can be taken to prevent further waste and abuse. As mentioned by Chen, Blumenthal, & Jena (2018), Medicare attempts to control frauds, waste and abuse by similar policies of disclosure. 

As a leader, I can support the process by promoting a culture of open communication and preventing any retaliation at workplaces. A compliance department can be set up that can take in complaints of compliance and waste anonymously to prevent any retaliation. My current workplace does have a compliance department which is what I had used to resolve this issue without being identified. 

References: (2019). CDC Ethics Home Page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2019].

Chen, A., Blumenthal, D. and Jena, A. (2018). Characteristics of Physicians Excluded From US Medicare and State Public Insurance Programs for Fraud, Health Crimes, or Unlawful Prescribing of Controlled Substances. JAMA Network Open.

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