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Monday HR Minute: Inappropriate Behavior, Social Media, and Arrests
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Off-the-Clock Behavior, Part 2: Inappropriate Behavior, Social Media, and Arrests

Last week we reviewed how to handle some situations of unacceptable off-the-clock behavior, specifically harassment and marijuana use.  Below are some situations that could violate your policies of Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure and Workplace Violence.

While circumstances are always different, some situations we have seen are:
  • An employee acts inappropriately during a conference in front of co-workers, vendors, clients, and prospects, becoming loud and “un-PC”. The employee is representing the company so this unacceptable behavior could cost the company money, reputation, and clients.   More serious actions such as revealing classified information, harassing/sexually harassing an employee, client, or vendor, telling inappropriate jokes, or using unacceptable language should result in serious discipline.  Note: The employee cannot use “being drunk” as an acceptable defense – they are still responsible for their actions and possibly restricting alcohol in future events may be appropriate.
  • An employee complains about their low wages (posting up how much they make) and how awful their supervisor is. Some speech like this is protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Under the NLRA, all employees have the right to exercise “protected concerted activity” which is speech or actions with the purpose of improving working conditions for themselves and others.  Employees’ talking about their own work conditions is protected; their talking about others without permission is not.  It is also not protected to violate confidentiality such as the company’s pricing structure or client information.
 
  • An employee is arrested for their part in a barroom brawl involving their friends and some strangers: In most situations, you cannot take action on an arrest alone.  However, if the charge is serious enough that the employee will be missing significant time (i.e., they cannot report to work because they are in jail) then you may have the option to terminate for unexcused absences.  If the charge involves violence, you may have options for discipline if there is legitimate concern it could migrate into the workplace.  If other employees were involved then you may need to evaluate the workplace situation since there may be harassment or workplace violence implications evolving from an unaddressed situation.
Please note that all situations differ based on factors such as the employee’s circumstances, the company’s past precedent, state and local laws, and collective bargaining agreements. Given this, before you take an adverse employment action, it is best to check with your legal counsel or call us at Affinity HR Group to help walk you through your options.
 

That Affinity HR Group is an endorsed HR provider for more than a dozen national trade associations? And that we can help you recruit for your next rock star employee for a fraction of the price of a typical recruiter?


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Chief Operating Officer  |  
Benefits Administrators



And Affinity can ensure your HR practices & policies are compliant and costs a fraction of the price of other national providers, such as Paychex & ADP. 

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Managing Partner  |  Affineco




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The Monday HR Minute, brought to you by Affinity HR Group, is designed to provide you with practical, applicable human resources and management advice and information in a format that will take you 60 seconds or less to read.  We believe that by dedicating just one minute a week to thinking about people management practices, business owners and managers can make enormous strides in improving workplace performance.
Affinity HR Group is a full service human resources consulting firm that specializes in advising small and medium-sized enterprises. Our services include recruiting and selection, HR policies and compliance, ad hoc HR support, compensation and performance management, and training and development. We are an endorsed HR partner of a number of leading national trade associations and offer free initial consultations and discounted services to their member companies.
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This e-mail may contain general information about legal matters. Affinity HR Group does not provide legal counsel. The information provided should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied on as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about this content or any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
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