What is gross misconduct at the workplace? Here is a comprehensive guide, along with examples and insights on how to handle them. Read on!
Workplace decorum and dignity demand following appropriate etiquette and conduct. Every employee is expected to adhere to the norms and ethics defined by the company. Gross misconduct is unacceptable and punishable under law. It may lead to suspension and even dismissal from the company.
In this article, we will understand misconduct definition, employee misconduct examples, and how to handle it.
What does misconduct mean?
How to define misconduct at work? In dictionary terms, the word misconduct is inappropriate, improper, and unexpected behavior from a person, employed in a company. Employees are given a second chance to improve or rectify unlike gross misconduct when a person can be dismissed without any warning.
It must be seriously condemned and prevented for the well-being and reputation of the organization. A person with erratic behavior creates a negative influence on the other employees and even the work environment.
Gross misconduct definition
How to define gross misconduct? Gross misconduct definition states severe misbehavior by an employee in an organization related to physical violence, theft of company assets or proprietary rights, extreme work negligence, and so on.
Employees with gross misconduct are seldom provided an opportunity to sort out or amend their behavior. Without any written or verbal warning, they can be easily terminated from the organization. An exception can be granted to employees working for a long term in the company or who have a good previous record. But those occasions are rare.
Difference between misconduct and gross misconduct at workplace
Let us now try to understand what is considered misconduct at work and when can you term it as gross misconduct. Misconduct is less serious than gross misconduct. For example, unauthorized usage of company IT or physical assets may not have severely impacted the security or authenticity of the organization.
Whereas if the same action leads to loss of data or leakage of confidential data to the outside world, it is considered gross misconduct. Employees offended for misconduct are provided an option to rectify their actions. But employees who are guilty of gross misconduct are punished immediately without any second chance.
Examples of gross misconduct in the workplace
Here are some examples of gross misconduct in the workplace. They will assist you judge which actions or behavior of employees can be categorized as gross misconduct. You can initiate appropriate action against them to protect the integrity of the organization and the other employees.
1. Harassment and bullying is gross misconduct at work
Harassing other employees and bullying them intentionally within the office premises is gross misconduct at work. It is one of the serious examples of gross misconduct in the workplace, which must be condemned urgently.
Such actions often lead to mental anxieties and worries among other employees and hamper the safety and security of the work environment. Besides, a wrong impression is portrayed outside, damaging the company’s reputation and market presence.
2. Gross insubordination
Gross insubordination is abusive, vulgar, and disrespectful behavior towards colleagues and supervisors within the office premises. It is a perfect example of gross misconduct in the workplace.
Employees often revert to direct negligence and avoidance of performing their duties and responsibilities by following the safety norms. Their action can be also be disrupting the normal functions of a project or a program being delivered in a unit or department.
3. Theft is one of the gross misconduct examples
Theft of company IT assets, physical assets, copyright documents, confidential data, and information is one of the grave gross misconduct examples. Exposure to sensitive information is a potential threat to a company’s existence and sustainability.
It creates a negative impact on the stakeholders in a company, leading to a downfall in the share market and a loss of substantial revenue.
4. Threats of violence is a serious misconduct
Physically abusing and threatening colleagues, peers and supervisors is serious misconduct, must be condemned and punished. Such behaviors are unacceptable as it directly impacts a person’s security and well-being in a company.
It is one of the examples of gross misconduct in the workplace that is against a company’s ethical policies and norms. Threats of violence lead to serious repercussions and consequences within employees and hence need immediate and urgent attention.
5. Continuous negligence of work is against work conduct
Negligence of work continually is against work conduct in a company. It disbalances the harmony in the team. It is one of the misconduct examples that severely impact the collaboration and cohesiveness in a team.
The timeline of the project or program is compromised and also the overall productivity. Such a habit must not be encouraged within an organization as missing deadlines due to negligence may lead to incurring expenses.
6. Usage of drugs on company premises is under employer misconduct offense
Under the employer misconduct offenses list, usage of drugs on company premises is one of the alarming misconduct at work examples. It is illegal and offensive under law as defined in the drug and alcohol policy of the majority of the companies.
The employees violating the policy are legally liable to face trials. Besides, drugs hamper an employee’s physical and mental state, harming the work environment.
7. Not following security norms is against gross conduct
Following security procedures and norms are directly related to the security and safety of a company. An employee defying them is against the gross conduct policies defined in the company legal books. It may open up the company’s secret and confidential data and information to hackers and spammers.
Hence a company may face a downfall, loss of revenue, reduction of company share values, and even bankruptcy. Not adhering to security norms must be included in your list of misconduct in the workplace for adopting appropriate actions.
How do employers handle gross misconduct?
In this section, we will discuss the steps adopted by companies on how to handle gross misconduct. Employers must define misconduct in the workplace in their legal and HR book of records and act accordingly. Failing which the integrity and moral ethics of the company will be in danger. Besides, there may be financial implications as well hampering the future growth of the company.
1. Suspension work misconduct
After a proper judgment of the level of work misconduct, you can decide to induce a suspension period for the convicted employees. During the period, bar certain privileges of accessing the company website or an internal portal. Ensure they revert to the HR or legal department of the company when required, but prevent them from accessing the workplace premises.
2. Termination for misconduct
Misconduct after suspension or multiple warnings leads to termination from the company. Or there may be situations where the act is grave enough to terminate without warnings. Ensure all the steps undertaken for dismissal due to gross misconduct. Document them well and hand them over to the HR department.
3. Misconduct sentence Trial
Gross misconduct sentence trial is executed when the behavior or act is against any law or ethics defined in the company books. It may also be a violation of statutory norms or policies defined in the country or state. The employees in such situations have to face legal actions and run for trial in court.
How should employees handle a gross misconduct allegation?
Employees need to handle a gross misconduct allegation with grace. Debating, arguing, or misbehaving may lead to further confrontations with the employers and may instill permanent damage in their careers. They should understand what is considered misconduct in the workplace and cooperate with the proceedings.
1. Ignorance of policy is a legal excuse for an employee
Ignorance of policy is a legal excuse for an employee. Employees must understand the policies defined in the company books or HR records during the hiring process. Negligence of adhering to it qualifies under gross misconduct.
2. Cooperate with the gross misconduct termination
During the gross misconduct termination process, employees must cooperate with the proceedings. Misbehavior may result in bad references or acknowledgment in the termination letter. The employees may not be able to apply for any respectable jobs in the future. Good behavior may prevent such actions by the employer.
3. Understand why the company fired for gross misconduct
Employees must seek polite justification as to why the company fired for gross misconduct. Respect the decision and abide by the proceedings. Avoidance in obeying the rules may lead to legal implications and hence must be strictly avoided.
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What does misconduct mean for unemployment?
Gross misconduct unemployment is the termination or dismissal of employees for inappropriate behavior or actions. When the acts of the employees seriously impact the company’s reputation, security and integrity then decisions are taken for firing them. This leads to unemployment due to a violation of the company’s policies and ethics.
What are the types of employee misconduct?
Employee misconduct or gross misconduct can be classified as,
- Offensive or abusive behavior
- Theft or stealing company assets
- Use of drugs and alcohol in office premises
- Violating safety protocol
- Physical threats or violence
- Damaging company-owned properties
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What is gross insubordination definition?
Gross insubordination is one of the examples of misconduct in the workplace. It is refusing to obey the order from the management or supervisor and is intentional. Also, it implies non-performance of the duties and tasks assigned to the employee thus leading to inject serious punishment.
Define gross incompetence
Gross incompetence is not intentional as contrary to gross misconduct. It is the failure of the employees to keep up with the expected competency level demanded by the company. The act doesn’t need to lead to dismissal in the first place.
Companies invest a certain amount of time and money to enhance the competency level of the employees through training, guidance, and support; failing may lead to termination.
Kuntala is a versatile writer with a focus on diverse areas around work, productivity, collaboration at work, hiring, management, HR, and training. Her background of past experience in technology and consulting helps in molding razor-sharp insights into the research and user-focused content she creates. Professionally she is an IT consultant in a sales role and also a writer of short stories and poems, travel blogger, and fashion influencer.