Ethics are moral principles or values that guide the decisions you make. This session examines ethics and decision-making in the workplace.


  • Life Skills
  • Ethics


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how honesty and loyalty are important ethical values for the workplace.
  • Define ethics as moral principles or values that guide decision-making.


Honesty and Loyalty Case Study activity sheet, one per group of four people (see resources)


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.



Read through Case Study No. 1. At the end of the story, ask participants what they think were some important lessons to be learned from the story. Participants will identify that Kathryn had a responsibility to report the theft of the clothing.


At the heart of Kathryn’s decision to ignore what she saw was the role of ethics. Ethics are moral principles or values that guide the decisions you make.


Comments on Ethics in the Workplace

Business ethics, or ethics in the workplace, are about doing the right thing, or whatever you consider to be the right thing at the time. Can you think of any example of a principle of conduct for a business? That’s right, not stealing, or being honest, is a very important one. How do you think employees are dishonest? Yes, by taking things that are not theirs, such as office supplies or other goods or merchandise.


Another way employees steal is by wasting time or by coming in late or leaving early. We can look at certain traits or characteristics that will give us some principles of conduct for business. They are honesty, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, and consideration.


These are ethics for the workplace.

  • Honesty means trustworthiness—being honest and dependable.
  • Loyalty means being faithful and true.
  • Helpfulness can be defined as being concerned for others.
  • Friendliness is seeking to understand others and respecting their differences.
  • Courtesy is recognizing that politeness and manners help people get along on the job.
  • Consideration is treating others as you want to be treated.

Case Study Examination

Ask the participants to form small groups of four or more. Refer them to the Honesty and Loyalty Case Study activity sheet. Tell the groups to focus on two very important business ethics, honesty and loyalty, and use those values to review some real-life situations.


Say: With your group, read and discuss each case study and then tell whether the employee was ethical. Be prepared to explain your answer and to tell how you would have handled the situation.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to the post or your specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What was an important lesson to take away from each of the case studies?

Analysis Questions

  • What does it mean to say that some individuals in the case studies are not bad people, but people who made bad decisions?
  • Why might some people find it a challenge to show honesty and loyalty to their employers?

Generalization Questions

  • How can we always live by the ethical values of honesty and loyalty ourselves?
  • What response makes sense when we see friends or co-workers making decisions that are not aligned with our ethical values?
  • Why can it be difficult to encourage a friend to make ethically sound decisions?
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