Character Counts Week

Honesty in the Workplace


Students discuss trustworthiness in the workplace. Through discussion and by examining a common example of dishonesty on the job, the importance of trustworthiness is reinforced.


Ask students what supplies employees often take from the office for use at home or elsewhere (e.g., pens, paper, paper clips, envelopes, staplers and staples, paper pads, computer supplies and calendars). On the board, list these supplies.

Have the students form small groups and give each group an office supplies catalog to calculate the value of the items listed. Tell them to estimate the total loss to the company in one year. Discuss the monetary loss to the company over the long term, the waste of supplies, and the loss of employer/employee trust.

Ask: Does taking these items represent a violation of trust in all cases?

If they answer that it doesn’t matter in the case of staples and paper clips, ask: Would it matter if the boss knew? 

Adapted from “Character Education in Ohio: Sample Strategies” (Ohio Department of Education), 1990.

Good Ideas