Whilst employees helping themselves to a little stationery or turning up a little late sometimes does not feel like a massive workplace concern. Turning a blind eye to employee misconduct could potentially lead to real HR trouble. With appropriate workplace guidelines in place, as the employer, you can take immediate legal action to combat them.
Here are 5 workplace behaviours that are actually employee misconduct:
Employees who consistently come to work past the time they are expected to arrive can be dismissed for continued lateness. Moreover, their behaviour can impact upon the work being done. For example, an employee who is expected to open up a retail outlet by a certain time or attend a morning meeting. Chronic lateness can impair the day-to-day operations of the business. It can also affect the performance of co-workers. The expectations must be clearly written in company guidelines. That way there is no doubt as to what time employees are expected to arrive and what behaviour is deemed as misconduct.
Unwanted Gift Giving
Giving gifts to another co-worker, subordinate or manager can be deemed as employee misconduct. In particular, if the gifts are unwanted, but the employee giving the gifts persists. This behaviour can be a form of harassment, even sexual harassment. It is imperative that managers and human resource professionals be vigilant around certain holidays like Valentine’s Day or around the time of the Christmas Party.
Taking Office Supplies Home
It’s hard to imagine that an employee that takes pens, pencils and post-it notes home from the office has done anything criminal. For a restaurant, it might be a bottle of wine or an expensive food item that goes missing. The reality is that taking office supplies or other items from the workplace is stealing and constitutes theft of company property. While pens, pencils, rulers and post-it notes are the most popular items to go missing, the list of objects taken by employees extends to laptops, phones and calculators.
You must set out your expectations consistently in both your policies and procedures. However, you must also set out the way employees can expect you to react to discovering this behaviour. Consistency in responding to this kind of employee misconduct is key. It can never be acceptable for one employee to help themselves to stationery without it being addressed by the employer. Then again, another finds themselves in a formal disciplinary.
Personal Use of Company Wi-Fi
Companies should have internet usage policies in place and for the policy on personal use of the company Wi-Fi to be defined. Wireless internet depends upon bandwidth for speed and optimal performance. Therefore, using the business Wi-Fi for personal activities is often against company policy. To some, using company Wi-Fi for personal use is just the modern version of stealing company property. Therefore, you must be clear on your expectations. Set out clearly what they can and can’t do.
Unscheduled Employee Absence
Paid sick leave is to be used for periods when employees are ill only. Other company policies, such as an annual leave policy, enable employees to take and plan scheduled absences and still be paid. However, calling in sick without good reason, lying about being ill or taking unauthorised time off work, is a form of employee misconduct. Employees that frequently miss work without notice or call in sick to get a day off work will probably have a distinct pattern of absence. Look out for these patterns of absence. For example, ‘spikes’ around holidays and creating long weekends by taking Fridays or Mondays as sick leave.
These are just 5 types of employee misconduct to watch out for. Make sure you have robust protocols and procedures in place. Then seemingly minor employee offences may start to present themselves as patterns of behaviour.
For employers, documentation of inappropriate employee behaviour is key. Patterns in behaviour will provide the evidence for an employer’s case of misconduct. Without documentation and procedures, a misconduct allegation will lack evidentiary clout and leave you floundering.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565 332 to discuss how we may help you.