Sometimes employees can behave in a manner that goes against company policy. As a result, companies must state what they consider workplace misconduct.
Typically, workplace misconductfalls into two categories, general and gross, with the latter being more detrimental to both the company and the employee. This review will discuss both general and gross misconduct with examples of each. Let's go!
The first type of workplace misconduct is gross misconduct which is behavior not intended to harm a business, its employees, and/or clients. Gross misconduct doesn't warrant the termination of an employee; however, the employee's immediate supervisor might need to discipline them in other ways. Examples of general misconduct include:
- When an employee fails to follow orders from a senior.
- When an employee is found dozing off during work hours.
- When an employee is repeatedly late to arrive at work.
- When an employee makes a negative remark to their colleagues.
- When it's discovered that an employee lied in their CV.
These acts of misconduct can be easily fixed, so the employee need not be fired. First-time offenders can easily get away with a written warning from their supervisor, but when the employee repeats the same mistake, they could be suspended.
Gross misconduct is when an employee does something illegal which affects the business, other employees, and/or clients. Acts of gross misconduct are considered serious enough to warrant the termination of an employee's employment contract.
As a matter of fact, employees who engage in acts of gross misconduct can be fired without notice, even if it's a first offense. However, when fired, employees sometimes tend to engage their employers in legal battles.
As a result, it's vital that employers follow due process and state the reason behind an employee's dismissal. In addition, the employee handbook should have a section dedicated to acts of gross misconduct. Typically, the following are considered acts of gross misconduct:
When an employee, whether junior or senior, breaches safety protocols, thereby putting themselves and their co-workers at risk, it's considered gross misconduct. A good example is smoking in areas with combustible materials.
Accidents can happen in the workplace or when goods are in transit. However, if an employee intentionally destroys company property, this is considered gross misconduct.
This offense comprises taking, without notice, anything considered company property, such as office property, stock, and company assets, such as vehicles. Stealing from co-workers and/or customers also falls in this section. This is a serious offense because it can land the company in legal and financial trouble and lead to the loss of clients.
Offensive behavior is broad but typically includes bullying, threatening co-workers and clients, and causing physical harm. It also includes harassment in or out of the workplace. Acts of harassment include sexual harassment, stalking, etc.
Intoxication in the workplace is considered gross misconduct because not only does it affect an employee's output, it can cause harm to others, especially where machines are involved.
In conclusion, this is what's considered workplace misconduct, and as you can see, it falls into two categories. It's crucial for companies to have a handbook highlighting these rules so that employees don't willingly or unwillingly break them.