Creating Safe & Respectful Workplace: Dealing with Misconduct
What is Misconduct in the Workplace
Misconduct in the workplace can have detrimental effects on both employees and the organisation as a whole. From sexual harassment to bullying and discrimination, misconduct not only harms the victims, but also creates a toxic work environment that can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and damage to the company’s reputation.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. By understanding the different types of misconduct, the consequences they can have, and implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies, companies can create a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.
Different Types of Misconduct
Let’s start by defining misconduct in the workplace. Misconduct refers to any behaviour that violates the company’s code of conduct or is illegal. This can include, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination, theft and fraud, harassment and intimidation, and substance abuse.
- Sexual harassment, for example, is a form of misconduct that can have serious consequences for both the victim and the organisation. According to a survey by the US National Women’s Law Center, one in four women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. This lead to emotional distress and trauma for the victim.
- Bullying and discrimination are also forms of misconduct that can have negative effects on both the victim and the organisation. These behaviours create a hostile work environment and can lead to decreased morale and productivity, increased absenteeism, and a high turnover rate.
- Theft and fraud, harassment and intimidation, and substance abuse are also forms of misconduct that can have serious consequences for the organisation. Theft and fraud can lead to financial losses, while harassment and intimidation can create a toxic work environment that can lead to decreased productivity and increased turnover. Substance abuse can also lead to decreased productivity and can even pose a safety risk to both the employee and their colleagues.
For general misconduct, which includes failing to perform with the competence and diligence that are expected of a member connection with the practice, a professional organisation may discipline a member. While for gross misconduct, such as violating the code of conduct, can result in the revocation of membership. The public is entitled to expect the highest standards of professionalism and integrity from members, and any deviation from these standards must be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
Who is Affected by Misconduct?
It’s important to note that misconduct can happen to anyone, regardless of their position in the company. This means that it’s not just lower-level employees or those in entry-level positions who are at risk of experiencing or witnessing misconduct, but also executives, managers, and other high-level employees. This is why it’s crucial for companies to establish a clear code of conduct that applies to all employees, regardless of their position.
A consistent failure to reach the standard of competence and diligence expected by an employer can involve a substantial departure from the established standards, and may justify a finding of misconduct. Employers should have clear guidelines and procedures in place to address such failures.
How to Avoid Workplace Misconduct?
A consistent failure to meet established standards and expectations in the workplace can justify a finding of misconduct and appropriate action must be taken to address it. Committing a tax offence can be considered a form of professional misconduct in the practice of law and may result in disciplinary action, including a written warning. A professional organisation may take disciplinary action for conduct or professional misconduct, such as persistently falling short of the level of diligence that a member is expected of a member.
- Workplace policies can be an effective tool for preventing workplace misconduct, such as discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. These policies should clearly define prohibited behaviors, establish procedures for reporting and investigating complaints, and provide for appropriate disciplinary measures. It is important to communicate these policies to all employees and provide training to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities under the policies.
- By providing education and training on what constitutes misconduct and the company’s policies and procedures for addressing it, all employees will be aware of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. This will not only help prevent misconduct from happening in the first place, but it will also ensure that employees know how to report misconduct if they witness or experience it. It also sends a message that misconduct will not be tolerated and that the company is committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.
- Encouraging employees to report misconduct is also essential for creating a safe and respectful workplace. Many employees may be hesitant to report misconduct out of fear of retaliation or not being taken seriously. By creating a culture where reporting misconduct is not only encouraged but also rewarded, companies can ensure that any misconduct is addressed promptly and effectively.
- Once misconduct has been reported, it’s important for the company to investigate and address it appropriately. This may involve disciplinary action, such as termination or suspension, or providing counselling and support to the victim. It’s also important to consider any steps that can be taken to prevent similar misconduct from happening in the future.
Occurring in connection with the employee’s work duties, consider a situation when an employee substantial or consistent failure to uphold the standard of competence while performing their job tasks. In that case, it may be determined that they are not fit and proper person for the position. Additionally, if the law falls short, the employer must take the appropriate action to resolve the wrongdoing and provide a safe and respected workplace for all employees.
In conclusion, misconduct in the workplace can have serious consequences for both employees and the organisation. However, by understanding the different types of misconduct, the consequences they can have, and implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies, companies can create a safe and respectful workplace for all employees.
Remember, misconduct can happen to anyone, and it’s important for companies to establish a clear code of conduct, provide education and training, encourage reporting of misconduct, investigate and address reported misconduct, and ensure that all employees know how to report misconduct and that it will be taken seriously. A safe and respectful workplace is not only the right thing to do, it’s also essential for the success of the company and employee well being.