How to Help Employees be Ethically and Socially Responsible in the Workplace

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Ruby Tuesday’s (RTI) code of conduct functions in two ways- to protect the company from a legal and a financial perspective. Businesses of all sizes have a social responsibility to protect themselves and their employees from the actions of others. The code of conduct outlines these expectations and works to educated employees about illegal or unethical actions that they should watch out for in the workplace. While the code of conduct does not cover every specific behavior that is considered negative, it covers the major issues that RTI has outlined as being important.

The first section of the code of conduct deals specifically with employees actions that could result in legal conflict for RTI. Issues relating to harassment and discrimination are in the first section titled “A” most likely because it is something that relates to all employees; whether they are washing dishes or acting as a regional manager. Many times, places of employment have a diverse staff and this can cause conflicts. For RTI, these conflicts could result in expensive lawsuits and the Code of Conduct explains that taking part in this could “result in disciplinary actions up to and including termination” (Code of Conduct, 2008). For the most part, this information is helpful to the majority of employees who may see or engage in these harmful activities in the workplace. The issues that Section 2 covers are more specific to higher levels of management relating to the conflicts of interest.

The second section focuses more on the issues that arise for conflicts of interest and discusses potential financial issues that employees face at work. Some issues, such as insider trading, are only going to impact employees who may buy and sell stock or provide information to others about the financial health of the company (Feigenbaum, 2010). Rules regarding financial gifts may apply to more employees since they may receive these from customers, distributors and other outside individuals who interact with RTI employees. It is vital that companies maintain and educate their staff on the code of ethics but they also need to ensure that employees follow the code for it to be most effective.

Companies can ensure that employees follow the code of conduct in several ways depending on the employee’s status in the business. The first is introducing the code and providing training for new employees, RTI’s code of conduct requires that new employees read and sign it. The second is to ensure that rules are being followed by supervisors and managers. If an employee is found to be breaking the rules, they can be required to re-train to remind them of the rules or even face disciplinary action such as a write-up, this would also act as a way to keep track of the employee’s issues. If the issue is serious or if the employee does not remedy his or her behavior, they may face demotion or termination from the company. However, it is much more positive to enforce positive behavior and also to help volunteers be a part of the community surrounding the restaurant.

Helping the restaurant and the employees feel they are a part of the community in which it operates can also ensure they engage in positive work behavior. These activities can include the restaurant supporting the local organizations (Businesses That Care, 2010); for example, having an evening where patrons can bring in a flyer showing support for the high school marching band. If patrons show the flyer, RTI can donate 5% of the patron’s check to the band and employees can feel like they are contributing to a local cause. Ensuring that good environmental practices are followed also encourages employees to feel like they are a part of the community. Taking actions like saving electricity or recycling also makes employees feel like they are taking care of the world around them. While it may not be an action that employees take at work, specifically, volunteering is a great way to help employees connect with the community they work in.

RTI’s code of conduct not only suggests that employees be responsible to the company but also be a good citizen for the community; avoiding harassment and following rules and regulations. Although not specifically outlined in the code of conduct, working to be socially responsible is good for the restaurant’s image, the employee’s sense of pride and also the community itself.


Businesses That Care. (2010, September 20). 7 Ways Small Business Can Embrace Social Responsibility. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from

“Code of Conduct” (2008, April). Ruby Tuesday. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from

Feigenbaum, E. (n.d.). How would an organizational code of ethics help ensure ethical business behavior? Chron: Small Business. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from