Day: 6 May 2022

Financial Gain

Conflict of interest in the workplace often refers to the personal or financial interest of an employee
clashing with their professional duties towards the company they work for. The personal interest can
cause one party to question what the other party’s intentions are, leaving both parties at odds with
each other.

Consider the work of a surgeon, a solicitor or a defence lawyer; generally speaking, we do not see
surgeons operating on their family members, lawyers normally avoid defending their loved ones and
senior managers do not employ close relatives in positions where they would be considered as a
direct reporting line or have influence.

The reason for engaging such practices is about avoiding conflict of interest, divided loyalties or an
invested interest in the situation from which they may either benefit directly or could face
consequences arising from it.

A conflict of interest calls into question the ability to remain unbiased in both thoughts and ideas,
leading to incompatible goals.
If you have suspicions one of your employees or agents may be conducting work for a competitor, you need evidence to confirm or eliminate a conflict of interests, whilst currently all you have are unsubstantiated assumptions which may be taking time and headspace away from the smooth running of your business.

Not knowing which direction to take?
Call us: 0800 36 88 444
Pulled in Two Different Directions

What can constitute a conflict of interests in this type of scenario? How do you go about gaining evidence whilst ensuring your employees are either unaware, not made to feel uncomfortable, or you simply wish to keep an investigation separate/isolated/remote from the day to day running of the business?

Here are a few examples of a conflict of interests:

  • Using sensitive information about the company by which they are currently employed, for self interest and financial gain. Example; An employee who is working for one company while talking to a vendor about going to work for their company at a future date. Or, an executive chooses a vendor and enters into a business relationship with the company, yet they own shares in the vendor’s business which they have not disclosed.
  • Conducting work for a competitor or being paid by a competitor as a consultant or advisory capacity. An example could be something as simple using their work account on certain paid tools and programs to manage their own list of clients for their personal business.
  • Setting up a business in competition with the one in which they are currently employed, just waiting for the optimum exit timing. Work performance may be compromised and deteriorate due to potential ‘burn out’. Internal and external stakeholders’ relationships may suffer damage as a consequence.
  • Whilst in a senior decision making role, failing to disclose a personal or family relationship which may affect your business, either during their tenure or, once the employee has left the business. This could relate to feeding sensitive information for use with a competitor. Alternatively, the personal relationship choice of employee, perhaps for a new role or a new project may well be based upon merit however, it could cause hostility amongst co-workers and affect the balance of the team or the team spirit.
  • Accepting inappropriate gifts or engaging discussions with current or prospective contractors or suppliers for financial gain. Accepting gifts could appear totally innocent at the time but the employee may be held to ransom by the one offering the gift, at a future point in time.

What ever your suspicions consider a no obligation, initial consultation with Fox Robinson Investigations to discuss the option of Open Source Intelligence Techniques (OSINT) and how it can help.