In creating and maintaining an ethical workplace, each and every employee plays a vital role. In fact the unethical behavior is also reported by the employee roles.
There are two major categories of workforce misconduct i.e., gross and general. While general misconduct is a disturbance for employers, gross misconduct is a reason for strict disciplinary action, usually dismissal.
Why Employee Misconduct is a threat to the Organization?
Over the last decade, many scandals in the service industries have shined a light on the importance and highlighted employee misconduct as a major cause of the scandals.
Here are some common employee misconducts:
- Cutting corners, taking shortcuts and producing shoddy work
- Disguising mistakes from managers and colleagues
- Badmouthing, insulting and gossiping colleagues
- Delegating tasks
- Taking credits of co-workers
- Stealing office equipments
- Misusing internet services of organization
- Discrimination towards customers and colleagues
What is employee misconduct?
“Misconduct” is known as ‘any behavior which is violating in terms of law or organizational ethics standards’.
In terms of this ‘Employee Misconduct’ is a kind of unacceptable or negative behavior by employees that is harmful to the organization.
Unethical conduct or employee misconduct has a variety of impacts on an organization, ranging from small-scale dishonesty to fraud and corruption for one’s own benefit.
There are low and high level impacts of misconduct on an organization.
How to address and handle employee misconduct?
There should be no ignorance of employee misconduct by an organization. In the instance of 2019, a wrongful termination lawsuit cost one company more than $1.1 million when there was a failure to provide enough termination evidence.
Here are the solutions to address and handle misconducts:
- Effective disciplinary policy
- Outlining a process of reporting misconducts
- Proper investigation of misconducts
- Swift and careful reaction to employee misconduct
- Creating strict misconduct policy
What are the types of misconduct?
There are two major types of misconduct in which one is not as serious as the other but both require quick managerial actions.
1. General (simple) misconduct
This involves behavior that is not an immediate threat to the company but requires supervisor and HR attention to carry out disciplinary actions to correct it.
Inaccurately reporting, not following the orders and getting caught at a no smoking zone are several general misconduct examples.
2. Gross misconduct
This creates an immediate need for termination for the employee from the organization. The legal term for this is ‘summarily dismissed’.
These actions are harmful for the company and its position in the competition.
Common examples of gross misconducts are theft, damage due to negligence, confidentiality breach etc.
Disciplinary responses to workplace misconduct
If an employee engages in serious misconduct there should be some reasonable grounds and evidence for dismissal.
The disciplinary process ensures such grounds. These are such actions can be taken if misconduct is suspected:
- Investigation and establishment of facts that are suspicious for the organization
- Outlining the allegations and the ramifications if the misconduct is proven
- Counseling the employee
- Issuing warning letters
- Suspension of employee
Employee Misconduct is unpleasant for any organization. However, a solid process on addressing this problem will make the organization a better, safer and more inclusive place to work.
For creating an ethical organizational culture, identifying employee misconduct is essential.