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What Considers As Workplace Misconduct

Sometimes employees can behave in a manner that goes against company policy. As a result, companies must state what they consider workplace misconduct.

Author:Dexter Cooke
Reviewer:Frazer Pugh
Oct 28, 2022
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!

General Misconduct

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

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:

Breach of Safety Protocols

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.

Damage to Property

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.

Fraud and Theft

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

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.

Substance Abuse

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.

Final Thought

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.
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Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
Frazer Pugh

Frazer Pugh

Frazer Pugh is a distinguished expert in finance and business, boasting over 6 years of experience. Holding an MBA in Finance from Stanford University, Frazer's credentials underscore his authority and expertise in the field. With a successful track record in executive roles and as a published author of influential articles on financial strategy, his insights are both deep and practical. Beyond his professional life, Frazer is an avid traveler and culinary enthusiast, drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and cuisines. His commitment in delivering trustworthy analysis and actionable advice reflects his dedication to shaping the world of finance and business, making a significant impact through his work.
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