A lot of employees, especially your troublemakers (you know who they are), think they’re safe when they leave the work premises. They’re not.
You can still hold them accountable for a lot of their actions.
Employment law attorney and partner at the firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, Shayna Balch, recently answered that question for Phoenix Business Journal.
Here are five actions pointed out by Balch for which companies can terminate employees, unless they have an employment contract that states otherwise:
Harassment and discrimination
Most good employee handbooks explain what the company deems as harassing and discriminatory behavior. Those rules can be applied both inside the workplace and outside the workplace.
Many times when these rules are broken, they’re broken in social settings outside the workplace — especially when drinking is involved.
Post-work happy hours, for example, tend to be a breeding ground for harassment complaints.
In addition, comments made in a group or on social media that are viewed by one employee as joking can be viewed as harassing or discriminatory by another.
Making false statements
Balch’s comments in a guest blog at the Phoenix Business Journal were directed at employees, and she recommended they avoid knowingly making false statements about their employer, customers or co-workers — even in jest.
Another warning she had for employees: Publishing slanderous remarks or defamatory info about anything work-related could also lead to termination.
Revealing trade or customer secrets
Your handbook and policies should outline the kinds of confidential info that employees are prohibited from sharing. And again, these policies remain in effect when employees are off the premises or off the clock.
A violation may be grounds for termination.
Working off the clock
Non-exempt employees must be paid for all the time they work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t punish them for unapproved after-hours work — as long as they’re still paid for it.
Some employees think they’re safe working extra hours and collecting overtime without permission. But they’re not, especially if they’ve repeatedly ignored instructions to get a manager’s approval before working the extra hours.
Moonlighting for the competition
Some employees try to take advantage of every lucrative business opportunity that comes their way — even if that means moonlighting or freelancing for a competitor.
This can be immediate grounds for termination, according to Balch.