Ohio State has been going through a rough week. The team’s head football coach, Urban Meyer, has been put on paid administrative leave because it’s likely he knew that one of his employees was abusing his wife and said nothing about it. An investigative team has been assembled to determine what Meyer, who makes more than $6 million a year, knew and if he acted appropriately based on that information.
Of course, we don’t know enough yet to say whether Meyer’s behavior was appropriate. What this does highlight, however, is the importance of encouraging your employees to say something if they know about a co-worker’s bad behavior. Doing so helps the company be on the right side of history. It also protects the company from financial or reputational risk, and it protects their employees from terrible consequences.
Because so many people knew about this behavior, Ohio State is made to look like their employees made a conscious decision to bury the bad behavior rather than reporting it. Burying bad behavior may work for a while, but when one instance of the bad behavior is made public, the buried instances are likely to follow almost immediately. This creates a far worse situation than if the first instance was reported and addressed.
And since Meyer was in a position of authority, he’s facing personal risk as well. If it’s determined that he was required to report this bad behavior (either by law or by his contract with the university) and he didn’t, his job is in jeopardy. If he is found to have acted inappropriately, he could be fired – a fate which could have been avoided if Meyer respected the risk of choosing to bury this story for his own convenience.
Whatever your employees’ obligation to report bad behavior, are you broadcasting the importance of that obligation? Do they understand the consequences of failing to do so? If you are, you’re benefitting your company in a way that Ohio State could really appreciate at this point in time.
To learn how CMTS:HR can help your company make it easier for employees to report bad behavior and ensure consistent investigations are conducted, call us at 855-636-5361 or email us at Team_CMTSHR@CMTSHR.com.