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Despite what you may have taken away from the TV show Mad Men, men and women are equally committed to following the ethical code of the workplace. However, women more frequently find themselves at risk when it comes to the ethics of ethical business behavior. 

A study from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, a nonprofit that supports workplace ethics, reports that “in terms of ethics and compliance, female workers are at much greater risk than their male counterparts. That enhanced risk applies to female leaders as well as lower-level female employees.” 

The study cites three major risk areas for women leaders:  

  • Women in senior leadership positions are more likely than men at the same level to feel pressure to compromise company ethics standards and/or the law; 

  • Women are more likely to experience retaliation for reporting misconduct; 

  • Women are more likely to doubt their leaders’ commitment to workplace integrity.  

The survey team interviewed employees about their beliefs regarding their leaders’ commitment to workplace ethics.  

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.

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