When Good Employees Go Bad

by: Debra Atkinson, MS

people When Good Employees Go Bad LEARN HOW TO HANDLE STAFF WHO ACT UNETHICALLY AND HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM THEIR BAD BEHAVIOR. By Debra Atkinson, MS employee and to your business. As a fitness facility owner or manager, you can't police morality. You can, however, arm yourself with an awareness of the temptation and potential harm caused by greed and the desire for success, easy satisfaction and immediate gratification. You can put into place systematic safeguards to strengthen your defenses against these contagious ethical diseases. Finally, though real recourse may not be possible, you can take steps to ensure the disease doesn't spread within your own organization. A health club employee is caught red-handed falsifying timecards and is guilty of embezzling $5,000. An accountant pockets nearly $40,000 from membership sales, covering the trail by manipulating internal statements and membership records. A massage therapist and a personal trainer are each accused of sexual harassment. These situations don't tell the tale of ethical business success built on the lofty vision of enhancing the quality of life. Unfortunately, the fitness industry is not immune to the lying and dishonesty that have become an all-too-accepted part of corporate business. The degree of trust and self-regulation that is characteristic of many fitness-related positions can be an open invitation to trouble. If too many ingredients fall into the pot under the "right" pressure, the result can be damaging both to the Unethical Situation #1: Embezzling Money "Andy" is a personal trainer who began working for a health club as an intern. He became a personal trainer and eventually took on more responsibility as the fitness director. By the time the accounting department discovered an unusual pattern in his timecards, he had worked for the club for 3 years--and had embezzled close to $5,000. When he was eventually caught lying, he confessed to the theft, admitting how he had taken the money. Handling the Situation. Sending Andy to jail, garnishing his wages at his next job and making him work for free were all possibilities. After consulting with a lawyer and the police, the facility managers chose instead to sever ties with him and take the loss. Despite their bitterness, they did not want to ruin Andy's life. Instead, the managers and Andy signed an agreement, which was kept on file. It stated that if Andy ever "was on the property or in the building, made any derogatory comments toward the club or management, or attempted to recruit clients," the club would press charges. Strengthening Your Immunity to Corporate Disease Protect yourself from possible unethical behavior on the part of your staff by taking the following safeguards: Check Applicants' Resum

IDEA Fitness Manager , Volume 17, Issue 2

© 2005 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Debra Atkinson, MS

Debra Atkinson, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Speaker and author Debra Atkinson, MS, CSCS, is a prior Senior Lecturer at Iowa State University, and the current Personal Training director at Ames Racquet & Fitness Center in Ames, Iowa. Her book, T...