How to report unethical practices by your employer

Updated February 21, 2017

Filing a report against your employer for unethical practices is a frightening process. You may worry that it will create unwanted tension in the workplace, or even result in the loss of your job. Failing to report unethical practices could come back to haunt you if someone else takes the step before you do, and it is discovered later that you were aware of your employer's misdeeds. Great care must be taken when reporting unethical practices, as falsely reporting information could lead to action being taken against you.

Get all the facts before you file a report. You need to make sure you know the facts, as well as the reasons certain practices in the workplace are undergone. Sometimes a business' practices may seem unethical to you, when in fact they are not, so taking the time to understand those practices and the law can protect you in the event that you must file a report.

Keep your intention to report, and your thoughts regarding your employer's unethical practices, to yourself. When you take the step to report unethical practices in the workplace, you may potentially damage your employer's reputation. In some situations, sharing sordid details could be considered office gossip, which could bounce back and reflect negatively on you if it turns out your claims were wrong.

Ask the human resources department in the company about the company's specific procedure for reporting unethical behaviour. Every company's procedure will differ, but the human resources department can help steer you through the process without getting personally involved.

File an anonymous report. You have the right to report unethical practices without exposing yourself to your employer and creating the potential for discomfort in the workplace. In the event that you are a union worker, file the report with your union representative.

State only the facts in your report and avoid making the report personal. When you state the facts in a professional manner, your report brings the indiscretion into the light without turning it into a personal vendetta.


Reporting your employer's unethical behaviour can be scary, as you may worry about the report jeopardising your job. Despite your fears, reporting unethical practices can potentially stop those practices and improve workplace conditions.

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About the Author

Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.