5 Real Consequences of Workplace Dishonesty

Some employees might really hate their job probably because it is not what they’re expecting. Doing the job they don’t really like mainly because it is not their passion. Also, lack of motivation or rewards from their bosses. Or even because the job is low paying, could influence for workplace issues. These are the challenges faced by most businesses is workplace dishonesty. This could arise from stealing, lying, or other behaviors that are unethical.

But what triggers it? There are many different factors that could cause workplace dishonesty – one of this could be social media sharing. Whether from an email chain containing offensive terms about the boss and accidentally sent to him.

According to data gathered by ERC (Ethics Resource Center), a survey concluded that half of the 120 million workers in the US have personally witnessed any form of unethical behaviors and misconduct in their workplace. Most commonly in terms of fraud, false expense report, and dishonesty.

In this article, let’s examine the different consequences of workplace dishonesty, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

Let’s get started.

1: Creates a false persona

Making yourself out to be someone or something you are not is the main idea of workplace dishonesty. It could be difficult to live out informed non-existent persona, in fact, this could only create psychological problems, severe anxiety, depression, and overall sense of mistrust. Keep in mind that paying attention to why people tell lies can also forecast the consequences of those lies.

2: Leads to the complexity

As they say, lies beget lies. People use the tactic to tell another lie between lies in order to validate those spoken statements. For example, in terms of sales report in the business, a troubled bookkeeper could present a false and inaccurate data on the sales report for the business. This is one of the most common misconduct that is clearly happening in every business– small or large.

These webs of deception are unmanageable and in terms of business, it could get unwieldy fast. Whether from email threads to paper trails, it could be totally impossible to validate all of the employee’s lies and falsehoods.

3: Ruins business reputation

The real question is when will employees dishonesty will destroy your business – and not if. Rather than building an empire of businesses that practice strong working ethics, unfortunately, most global business leaders turn out to be some laughingstock and financial ruin, and might even end up in prison. This is mainly because of their lack of ethics.

Just like trust, it is also very difficult to recover from a ruined business reputation due to dishonesty, lack of ethics, and misconduct.

4: Deception of trust

As mentioned earlier, trust is a fragile glass that once broken, it will be impossible to restore its original state. Workplace dishonesty in business is typically caused by deceptive behavior and it is contagious. Although people or employees emulate their dishonesty or lies of those whom they consider being in their specific “in-group”.

5: Destroys business

According to several businessmen, having the knowledge of knowing what is expedient and what is right creates a good business reputation. However, one person can totally destroy that reputation overnight. Expediency like shortcuts, white lies, and ethical lapses can be a contributing factor that could jeopardize a business. Keep in mind that the structure of an organization will solely depend on its integrity.

Besides employee’s dishonesty, turning public perception to the organization could also ruin a business in terms of its integrity, credibility, and reputation. This could lead to several major issues like customer leaving, discontinued partnership, stocks fail, an employee resigns.

What causes of workplace dishonesty?

As mentioned earlier, dishonesty in the workplace may be categorized from employee theft, rude social media sharing, submitting incorrect time sheets, unethical conduct such as drug abuse or harassment, and lying to co-workers or managers. Here are some of the main reason why dishonesty in a workplace is present:

Weak Company Enforcement: In order to combat workplace dishonesty, businesses must take comprehensive policies that outline what dishonesty is and its consequences. Especially on social media sharing as it plays a major role in communication in the office.

Low Morale: Employee’s dissatisfaction in terms of jobs, management of the company, and engagement among other employees could trigger dishonesty.

What to do?

As they say, honesty is the antidote of dishonesty. Which is why it is important to create a strong work ethics in your business. If you suspected any dishonesty that could lead to financial or product losses, you could always seek legal advice and professional help as well as conducting tests. You could opt for professionals that could conduct employee lie detector test to achieve accurate truth.

As mentioned earlier, lying or other ethical misconduct in a workplace is not a matter of “if”, but is a matter of “when”. Knowing the different ways to detect dishonesty could surely help you manage your business more accurately, secured, and productive. Thus, it could prevent any financial loss while keeping your business reputation at the top.


Workplace dishonesty and other unethical behavior could also have personal consequences. An employee who disobeys the company’s comprehensive policies and rules regarding these unethical actions could get fired and worst could be arrested.

According to SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) and Career Builder, they have found that the number of job applicants that misinterpret themselves in their resumes and during the interviews is increasing at an alarming rate of 53-58%. They also concluded that these issues typically occur in the Hospitality, Healthcare, IT, Retail, and Finance industries.

Dishonesty could be lying, illegal actions like drug abuse, drinking alcohol while at work, chronic absenteeism, and a disruptive workplace. Establishing a comprehensive company work ethics and regulations plays a vital role in deterring workplace dishonesty. Also, it can lower any other unethical actions in the workplace as well as building a strong integrity of the company.

Paul Trevino

Paul Trevino

Paul Trevino is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on business-related topics. He also writes for kinginvestigators.co.za which offers private investigator services in South Africa.
Paul Trevino

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