It is easy and quick and there is still the misbelieve that fixed-term... Retrenchments have become part and parcel of the impact of COVID-19 on employers. To reduce the risk of confusion or misunderstanding, be sure to include an employee misconduct policy in your handbook and agreements. With systematic documentation protocols in place, seemingly minor employee offenses may start to present themselves as patterns of behavior. For example, if the employee is expected to open a retail store by a certain time or attend a mandatory morning meeting, chronic lateness can impair the day-to-day operations of the business as well as the performance of co-workers. If it moves beyond small items, it can contribute to shrinkage, or inventory recorded on a company’s books that goes missing. Providing a clear outline of the alleged misconduct and potential consequences will assist the employee to prepare for the meeting and provide a more clear and concise response. 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 employers, documentation of inappropriate employee behavior is key. Those patterns will bolster an employer’s case should the behavior be determined to be misconduct. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that shrinkage is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and not surprisingly, in addition to it being a form of employee misconduct, it is a leading cause of small business failure 30% of the time. Create a safer workplace. Chronic Lateness. Misconduct in the workplace can present itself in multiple ways – some acts are easier to identify than others. Employee theft. However, calling in sick without good reason or lying about being ill or time taken off work, is a form of misconduct. This, however, will not be the case for their colleagues. The employee should also be given the option of bringing a support person to the meeting. Wallace Albertyn is a Senior Associate and Legal Advisor at LabourMan Consultants. 2. For example, an employee hired to oversee social media management will be on social media for majority of their day. There are two types of misconduct to be aware of: 1) general misconduct2) gross misconduct (or serious misconduct). Below are some common examples of misconduct in the workplace: The degree of misconduct depends on the industry, business, and nature of the role. In every case of misconduct there needs to be a rule, norm, standard, policy or practice in place. It is important to be vigilant and address acts of misconduct early, before it escalates. This means that there is a possibility that the employee behaved in a particular manner that falls within the umbrella of ‘misconduct’ but was not aware of it – it was unintentional. In some cases, employers may have to provide additional mentoring, guidance, or education to reduce the chance of a repeat offence. The employee should be given sufficient notice of the meeting. In our next article we shall look at formulating misconduct for a disciplinary enquiry. The following list shows 16 of the more common offences committed in the workplace: The above are common forms of misconduct, also referred to as offences, misdemeanours or transgressions. The list of things that could be classed as minor misconduct is endless; however, as an HR representative it is important to consider the following examples: Persistent lateness Not completing a piece of work on time Moreover, the employee’s tardiness should impact the nature of the work being done. Within company guidelines, employees can take and plan scheduled absences and still be paid. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving gifts to another co-worker, subordinate or manager can be deemed employee misconduct. Types of misconduct may also differ from company to company as what may be considered as misconduct in one company, may not necessarily be misconduct in another. During the meeting, the employer can update the employee on their performance – addressing areas of improvement, as well as areas where little progress has been made. Once the employee has responded, the employer needs to determine if the act is to be categorised under ‘general misconduct’ or ‘gross misconduct.’ If it is indeed gross misconduct, the employer may have the option to dismiss the employee immediately.If it is general misconduct, the employee needs to be given an opportunity to improve their conduct. While employees have a right to be not treated unfairly or be dismissed unfairly, on the other hand, employers have a right to expect acceptable conduct and satisfactory performance by employees. So a disciplinary code is the framework that stipulates how employees must conduct themselves and behave at work or face disciplinary action. Is there a way to regulate offences that constitute misconduct? 4. Habitual absence without authorization or habitual absence without leave. Be proactive. The reality is that taking office supplies or other items from the workplace is stealing and constitutes theft of company property. During the meeting, the employer should clearly present all the facts and evidence to address the misconduct. There are different things that are considered as misconduct at the workplace. Unauthorised possession of company goods; Wilful or negligent damage of company property; Deserting post or work station without permission; Unauthorised possession or consumption of liquor or drugs while on duty. Most employers offer sick leave to their employees and have a sick leave policy that encompasses scheduled absences.
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