This is an ethical, legal and integrity question that needs to be interrogated in the best way possible. To start with, the name-calling in the workplace is uncalled for. It not only demoralizes the person who is being called the name, but it also creates a tense atmosphere since workmates are not respectful to one another. The officer in question is being referred to as “a rat” just because he testified against a person who committed a criminal offence. It was good of him to testify and ensure that justice was met because the hallmark of criminal law is to ensure that the offender is apprehended, tried and either found guilty or innocent in a lawful manner that ensures that the victim also finds justice. The person whom the offender hit is now paraplegic and this is great injustice to him.
The officer being referred to as “a rat” is in a dilemma. Should he have kept quiet and yet he saw a fellow officer hit another man to an extent of almost killing him, just because they are officers at the same working place? Criminal justice demands that whoever has the evidence by way of witnessing the occurrence of an unlawful act should be able to adduce such evidence in court in order to aid the court in trying the offender. If he was to keep quiet, he would have been seen as aiding and abetting the crime and would also face the wrath of the law.
The injustice done to him because he volunteered to testify against his fellow workmate in a crime he witnessed is uncalled for, and the management of the organization has a duty and a responsibility to ensure that such injustice is not done to him again. The acts of placing a dead rat in his locker are also integrity issues that the management needs to look at. In fact, setting his uniform ablaze is an act of arson, and it is actionable in criminal law. This workplace is marred with so many integrity issues and the management must come up with a solution before everything goes berserk.
The management should also investigate on the incident of the officer hitting the other partner, and if he is found guilty, he should either be dismissed or suspended from duty. Even though, punishing the officer will not make the victim any better, it will be a deterrent measure for any other person who might think of doing the same in future. The theory of deterrence asserts that the punishment for crime should be more painful than the benefit derived from doing the crime . This is what the management should do because the employees’ code of conduct cannot allow such things to happen (Everton, 2007).
The fact that the buddies have admitted to slashing his car tyres is enough evidence to be adduced against them because the slashed tyres are available as evidence. There will be enough evidence to be adduced against these buddies, and this is the gravest and most heinous act an employee can do to their fellow employees. The buddies should, therefore, be tried and punished by either suspending or expelling them because they are setting a very dangerous precedent to the other employees (Everton, 2007). Again, the act of testifying against errant employees who lack integrity in the workplace should be encouraged. There is nothing wrong or criminally unlawful in testifying against these people for the sake of making the workplace a better place to live in. Furthermore, their continued lack of morals and unethical behaviour at the work place are only serving to the detriment of the organization (Moyer, 2001). Punishing them will act as a deterrent measure against any future attempt to do the same.
In view of the foregoing, criminal law should therefore be used to impart high moral values and integrity at the workplace by ensuring that any errant member is legally punished. This will act as deterrence to any other employee who would think of committing the same offences in future. Failure to do so would encourage such deviant behaviour in the work place which is not the wish of the management or any other reasonable person.
Everton, W.J et al. (2007). Be nice or else: understanding reasons for employee’s deviant behaviors . The Journal of Management Development , 26 (2), 117.
Moyer, I.L. (2001). Criminological Theory: Traditional and Non-Traditional Voices and Themes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.