Code of Conduct Examples in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published April 17, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published April 17, 2020

Every company should have a code of conduct outlining how employees are supposed to interact and behave while at work. By setting rules and expectations, employees know how to act at work and can be more successful in their roles. Employers need to consider many things to write a well-rounded code of conduct. In this article, we discuss the types of code of conduct and provide some code of conduct examples.

Read more: Professional Code of Ethics: Definition and Examples

What is code of conduct?

A code of conduct, also called privacy and code of conduct, are the policies and rules both employees and employers must adhere to. These guidelines outline how people should appropriately interact with one another at work. A company's code of conduct is usually in its employee handbook, though human resources may also provide new employees with training materials to help them learn the code of conduct. Each company has different rules outlined in its code of conduct, and some employers are more relaxed than others on following these rules.

Related: How to Create Your Code of Ethics (With Examples)

Why is a code of conduct important?

A code of conduct is created by companies to ensure everyone can feel comfortable at work. When employees treat each other with respect, they can avoid conflicts and work together in harmony.

Here are some reasons why a code of conduct is important:

Demonstrate a company's values

When a company has its code of conduct posted on its website, people interested in the company, such as potential job candidates, clients or stakeholders, can learn more about the company's ethics, values and morals.

Provide guidelines for behavior

A clear set of rules and expectations can help employees figure out what behaviors are appropriate for work. This way, they can create better relationships with their coworkers.

Act within the law

A code of conduct typically addresses things such as harassment in the workplace. If employees adhere to the company's policies, they are assured of acting within the confines of workplace laws.

Increase employee morale

When employees treat each other equally and with respect, everyone tends to feel more satisfied with their workplace. This can help employers retain and attract more employees.

Measure employee success

Employers can better measure their employees' success when they have a code of conduct. Within their policies, employers should discuss all the rules of the workplace. If they notice an employee isn't following the rules in the code of conduct, the employer can pinpoint exactly what the employee needs to improve.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Professionalism

Types of code of conduct

There are many types of code of conduct that an employer should include in their employee handbook. Here are some of the most important areas an employer should address:

  • Company's values

  • Employee behaviors

  • Dress code

  • Tardiness/absenteeism

  • Leave policy

  • Employee break policy

  • Conflicts of interest

  • Communication

  • Harassment

  • Abuse or assault

  • Bullying

  • Reporting misconduct

  • Intoxication

  • Illegal activity

  • Discrimination

  • Confidentiality

  • Use of company property

  • Use of technology

  • Plagiarism

  • Authority

  • Company resources

Related: Your Guide to Business Professional Attire (With Examples)

Examples of code of conduct

When employers write their code of conduct, they should have the wellbeing of all their employees in mind. This way, everyone feels like they are respected and treated fairly in the workplace. A quality code of conduct can help facilitate a better company culture, which leads to happier employees.

Here are a few examples of code of conduct:

  • Example: Use of technology

  • Example: Plagiarism

  • Example: Dress code

  • Example: Employee break policies

Example: Use of technology

"During working hours, employees are only permitted to use technology such as cellphones, social media or the internet for personal use while on break. When posting company-related content on social media, employees must express they are posting on behalf of themselves and not the company. The opinions they express should be respectful of the company. If an employee has a comment or concern about the company, it is best they bring it up to their manager or human resources rather than posting it online."

Example: Plagiarism

"At our company, we value giving credit when credit is due. Employees shall only take credit for their own original work. When using other resources, employees must use proper citations to give credit. Our company follows the AP Style Guide for in-text citations. Please refer to the AP Style Guide Handbook on the company's website if you have any questions."

Related: A Complete Guide to Integrity in the Workplace

Example: Dress code

"Our company's dress code is laid back most days. Employees are free to wear jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts and leggings that are not see-through. Of course, if employees wish to wear business casual attire, they are encouraged to do so. Please wear appropriate clothing free of swears, crude statements and references to illegal substances. Also, avoid clothing with rips, tears or holes. When a client or investor is visiting the office, employees will be informed of any dress code changes ahead of time. Usually, in these instances, we ask that employees wear business casual attire. This includes nice slacks, khakis, formal skirts and dresses, button-down shirts, nice blouses and closed-toe shoes."

Example: Employee break policies

"Employees can take a paid 30-minute lunch each shift. Employees can choose to extend their lunch break to an hour, but they must clock-out for the second half an hour. Employees working a shift of over eight hours or more also receive two 15-minute breaks. Employees must take one 15-minute break a few hours before their lunch break and the other should be taken in the hours after lunch. We ask that employees communicate with one another about when they are taking their breaks, so there is always someone available to customers. Employees are free to take their breaks in the lunchroom or outside of the premises. If employees ever feel like they need additional breaks, they should communicate this to their managers."

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