Grey matters ethical dilemma: Fighting for the right? The verdict

Read the CISI's verdict on the ethical dilemma that appears in the June 2020 flipbook edition of The Review

Read the June 2020 dilemma

This Grey Matter, published in the June 2020 flipbook edition of The Review, presents a scenario where a member of staff has been featured in the news and interviewed at an Extinction Rebellion protest outside their place of work. As they are your direct line report, what should be done next?

Suggested solutions and results

  1. No formal action is required but you decide to speak with Lorena privately to remind her of what is expected of a senior member of staff. (24%)
  2. As the company has been indirectly associated with the Extinction Rebellion protests, and Lorena’s involvement has the potential to bring the company into disrepute, a formal investigation will be opened which would most likely result in disciplinary action. (41%)
  3. You give Lorena a verbal disciplinary warning as the company social media policy states “be careful discussing things where emotions run high (eg, politics and religion)”. (19%)
  4. Lorena’s actions brought the company into disrepute and interfered with her ability to do her job. The Board should be informed, and in order to mitigate any further potential risks, speak with HR advising them that Lorena should be suspended on full pay pending the outcome of further investigation. (16%)

Responses received: 166

The CISI verdict

This dilemma highlights some of the factors individuals should consider when exercising their right to protest and using social media. As an employee and company representative, Lorena should have been more aware of the potential impact of her words and actions.

This Grey Matter is also one of the scenarios discussed at the CISI’s 2020 Annual Integrity event, held on 12 February (view it on CISI TV). Before the panel discussion, delegates voted 31% in favour of option 1 (taking no formal action). After the discussion, this jumped to 67% in favour of option 1.

The chart below shows the audience votes before and after discussing the dilemma 

Our recommended solution is option 2, alongside 41% of Review online poll respondents. While Lorena’s actions were carried out in her own time, she went viral on social media with her employer’s logo in the background. She could have instead used her position to promote better awareness and understanding of the climate issues raised by Extinction Rebellion. However, Lorena’s actions have now associated her employer indirectly with Extinction Rebellion, therefore Lorena should undergo formal investigation.

This verdict is published in the October 2020 flipbook edition of The Review.

Should you wish to suggest a dilemma or topic to be featured in a future Grey Matter, please contact us at

Published: 02 Oct 2020
  • Training, Competence and Culture
  • Integrity & Ethics
  • Community
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • climate change
  • verdict
  • Integrity Debate
  • grey matters ethical dilemma
  • Code of Conduct

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