Family is an important part of any constructor’s well-being. We all need family to support our endeavors and welcome us back home after a productive day of work.
Naturally, when you return home, you want to talk about what happened during the day and discuss any interesting company news or updates. Sometimes, the information that you want to discuss is sensitive in nature.
The challenge for constructors is that when you share sensitive information with family, there is a risk of this information leaving the confines of your home. This opens the door to an ethical issue in the construction industry of what happens if the information becomes public. Does this elevate to the level of a fireable offense?
Let’s examine this ethical issue so that you can do your best to prevent creating a difficult situation for yourself, your family, or your company.
An Example of This Ethical Issue in Construction
– Ethics in Construction Situation: Your colleague, a senior project manager, was just fired from the company. Here’s what led up to this.
Every week, the company has a meeting involving estimators, engineers, and project managers to review current, pending, and potential projects. Your boss said the company had an inside track on a project. Because the negotiations were sensitive and that the project owner did not want this project to get widespread attention, the employees in your company were asked not to discuss it with anyone. Additionally, the project required a three-year residency.
Your colleague told his spouse about this potential opportunity, and the information ended up on social media. When the company found out, your colleague was fired. Is this justifiable or unethical?
– Ethics in Construction Response: Yes, this is ethical on the part of the company. Your colleague violated a reasonable request by the company boss. Each person’s actions do not end when the workday is over, and social media has become a hotbed to learn of company secrets through the disclosure of sensitive information.
Posting about the project could adversely affect your company’s ability to secure the job and may create a greater issue for the project owner, who may have a legitimate reason for wanting to keep the project quiet. The company rightfully fired the senior project manager for breaching a reasonable company request.
Lessons Learned About Sharing Sensitive Information
The key to this situation is that the information went public. If you choose to discuss sensitive information with family members, be sure to stress the importance of not talking to anyone else about the potential project and certainly not posting information on social media.
Adhering to construction ethics is a 24/7 endeavor that doesn’t stop when you clock out for the day. Ethics must be central to every action that you take as a professional constructor. This way, you can do your best to support ethical issues in the construction industry and deliver high-quality work that benefits the owner and your company.
– To grow in the area of construction ethics, we encourage you to become an AIC member. We have many resources available to you about ethics so that you can support the owner and your company.
– We also encourage you to subscribe to the AIC email newsletter. You’ll start to receive valuable information about construction ethics directly to your inbox. Scroll down to the email sign-up box at the bottom of this page and enter your email address to start receiving our resources.