NHS gag controversy a reminder of the need for fairness for everyone at work

The media controversy over claims by health service manager Gary Walker that he was “gagged by the NHS from speaking out about his dismissal and his concerns over patient safety” (reported by the BBC) is a reminder that every employee of every organisation deserves fair treatment at work.

Whether someone works in a big corporation or a small business, in the private sector or in a public service, they deserve to be treated fairly.

Apart from the fact that anyone who works in an organisation where they feel afraid or bullied could suffer from health problems as a result of the pressure, the organisation itself will suffer by preventing its employees from working productively and by failing to maintain their motivation.

Forward-thinking organisations will value constructive comments and suggestions from employees committed to its aims and vision. This includes identifying problems. An organisation which recognises this and faces up to its weaknesses is more likely to prosper and perform well than one which ignores them. In these tough times, an open, honest approach is to be encouraged.

Fairness is important at work, not just for the good health of employees, but for organisations as well.

• Robert Zarywacz is courtesy consultant for the National Campaign for Courtesy and has developed the please and thanks courtesy toolkit for businesses and employers.