Bad work­place be­hav­iour

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Most read­ers will be aware of the re­cent well pub­li­cised ex­am­ple of two em­ploy­ees en­joy­ing each other’s com­pany on com­pany premises af­ter hours.

It was a high- pro­file ex­am­ple of poor be­hav­iour re­sult­ing in dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses be­ing put in place.

The things em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers get up to go a lot fur­ther down the bad be­hav­iour trail than that ex­am­ple. Some re­cent cases:

Em­ployee re­signs af­ter ac­cus­ing em­ployer of em­bez­zle­ment.

An em­ployee who worked as an of­fice and sales ad­min­is­tra­tor re­signed af­ter re­port­ing in­ci­dents of bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion by her em­ploy­ers.

The em­ployee be­lieved that one of her em­ploy­ers was em­bez­zling money from the busi­ness and im­ple­mented a cash-han­dling sys­tem, which caused re­sent­ment and ten­sion be­tween them.

The em­ployee was hos­pi­talised ow­ing to work stress and did not re­turn to work.

The Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity (ERA) up­held the em­ployee’s per­sonal griev­ance claim for un­jus­ti­fied con­struc­tive dis­missal.

The em­ployer failed to pro­vide the em­ployee with a safe work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, which caused her stress, and led to her ill health and res­ig­na­tion.

The ERA held that the em­ployer’s breach was of suf­fi­cient se­ri­ous­ness to ren­der the em­ployee’s res­ig­na­tion rea­son­ably fore­see­able and awarded more than three months’ lost wages plus $ 10,000 com­pen­sa­tion for hurt and hu­mil­i­a­tion.

Em­ployee who faked in­jury fined.

The ERA fined an em­ployee $1500 as a de­ter­rent to oth­ers who at­tempt to con their em­ployer and the author­ity over al­leged in­juries.

The em­ployee claimed a shoul­der in­jury pre­vented her car­ry­ing out her tasks in a re­tail store. Pho­to­graphs taken by a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor showed her car­ry­ing out tasks in­con­sis­tent with her claimed in­jury.

The author­ity found that the in­for­ma­tion she had pro­vided to her em­ployer, doc­tor, ACC and the ERA was false and de­lib­er­ate over a sus­tained pe­riod of time.

Her con­duct was in breach of her em­ploy­ment agree­ment and good faith obligations.

Truck driver fal­si­fies log­books and timesheets.

A truck driver was dis- missed af­ter his em­ployer dis­cov­ered he had fal­si­fied his log­books and timesheets, and had failed to take breaks as re­quired by the com­pany.

The ERA re­jected the em­ployee’s per­sonal griev­ance claim for un­jus­ti­fied dis­missal.

It held that the em­ployer had sub­stan­tial jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for find­ing the em­ployee had com­mit­ted se­ri­ous mis­con­duct as he was part of the Health and Safety Com­mit­tee and knew the com­pany’s poli­cies con­cern­ing breaks.

The em­ployee also ac­knowl­edged he was aware of the com­pany’s poli­cies and ex­pec­ta­tions and knew if he breached them he could face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

He un­der­stood that fail­ure to ob­serve safety rules and the fal­si­fi­ca­tion of doc­u­ments con­sti­tuted se­ri­ous mis­con­duct un­der his col­lec­tive agree­ment.

The author­ity held that the em­ployer car­ried out a full and fair in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The em­ployee had been pro­vided with all rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion and been ad­vised of the al­le­ga­tions against him and the pos­si­ble out­comes of the dis­ci­plinary process.

He was rep­re­sented by union del­e­gates at dis­ci­plinary meet­ings, which were post­poned when the em­ployee be­came un­well. The em­ployer gave the em­ployee the op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to the al­le­ga­tions and gen­uinely con- sidered his ex­pla­na­tions be­fore mak­ing his de­ci­sion.

Em­ployer threat­ened to fire staff mem­ber af­ter af­fair.

An un­faith­ful chief ex­ec­u­tive (nor­mally re­spon­si­ble for dis­ci­plin­ing em­ploy­ees) bul­lied a fe­male staff mem­ber by threat­en­ing to have her fired if she ex­posed their ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship or her preg­nancy.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive would nor­mally be the per­son em­ploy­ees turned to if a manager was act­ing badly, so the em­ployee had limited op­tions for rais­ing her com­plaint.

She cor­rectly com­plained to the board about the chief ex­ec­u­tive’s be­hav­iour. The board in­structed him not to con­tact the em­ployee, but he de­fied their in­struc­tions and failed to par­tic­i­pate in the dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive then faced em­ploy­ment pro­cesses plus dis­ci­plinary ac­tion from his pro­fes­sional reg­is­tra­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion.

As can be seen, bad be­hav­iour is not re­stricted to just em­ploy­ers or just em­ploy­ees. Ev­ery­one needs to fol­low the right pro­cesses to raise is­sues about poor (or il­le­gal) work­place be­hav­iour.

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