Employee management

Difficult Discipline: Managing Bad Behaviour in Unusual Circumstances

July 12, 2018

Enacting disciplinary measures against your employees is never pleasant or easy, but most of the time, it’s at least straightforward. Someone does something wrong, so you issue a warning; if the bad behaviour persists, you escalate the discipline until, as a last resort, you terminate their employment. With a well-written policy guiding the disciplinary process, and other policies explaining what sort of behaviour would trigger that process, you can be reasonably confident that you’ll be able to handle any sort of transgression.

Sometimes, though, discipline is a much trickier issue, either because investigating and proving wrongdoing is tougher, or because the employee in question is in unusual circumstances. Can you discipline an employee for off-duty behaviour? What happens if an employee has an accommodation? What do you do when an employee works remotely? What if the employee is about to take a job-protected leave?

Imagine this. You’re eating your breakfast before work on a Monday morning and scrolling through your Facebook feed. You notice an employee of yours was tagged in some pictures on Friday having what appears to be way too much to drink at a party. To make matters worse, they are wearing a hat with your company’s logo on it. What do you do? What can you do?

Difficult situations like these are thankfully rare, but it’s still important to make sure your organization is prepared to face them. Undertaking disciplinary actions—especially terminations—inappropriately can lead to costly litigation, damaged reputation, and other long-lasting, far-reaching consequences.

So how do you protect yourself and your business from potential damages due to employee misbehaviour? Download our FREE Guide to Handling Employee Misbehaviour to learn about different situations and how to deal with them.

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