Issue: Whether you should adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward employee misconduct.
Risks: A poor policy can trigger lawsuits, and even a well-drafted one can force you to fire otherwise-good employees.
Action: Create or revise your no-tolerance policy with the advice below. Advise managers to enforce it at all times and in all situations.
On paper, it seems like a good idea: You warn employees that your organization will not tolerate even one instance of on-the-job misconduct. But life isn't always so simple.
Examples: What if your top salesperson, an otherwise stellar employee, blows her stack at a manager one day? Do you automatically fire her? What if a valued supervisor tells an off-color joke that offends his secretary but no one else in the workplace? Do you fire him?
The main problem: Zero-tolerance policies are often too vague and difficult to interpret. Company policy might say an employee who sexually harasses another will be fired. But who decides what constitutes sexual harassment? Worse, failing to enforce your zero-tolerance policy at all times could lead to a wrongful-discharge lawsuit against your organization.
Use these four guidelines to develop and enforce a zero-tolerance policy:
1. Tackle only the worst behaviors. It's not worth the threat of going to court for minor employee indiscretions. Zero in on the most egregious behaviors, such as violence, theft and harassment. Just make sure you define it extensively.
2. Be specific. Specify the behaviors you won't tolerate. Don't just say, "We will not tolerate violence." Say, "Physical violence, including hitting, kicking and threats with weapons, will result in automatic suspension pending a full investigation." Describe how you will conduct that investigation.
3. Be consistent. Enforce your policy equally at all levels. Don't favor valued employees over poor performers. Treat all cases the same. Develop a checklist for investigating complaints and follow it rigorously in every case.
4. Be prepared to follow through. A zero-tolerance policy can spell consequences for the organization as well as the employee involved. Make sure your top execs understand and support the downside: They may have to fire otherwise-good employees, possibly sparking morale problems.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/1276/zero-tolerance-policies-an-open-door-to-trouble "
- Carefully track all discipline details to show you treat all employees fairly
- Federal laws on employee discrimination: what managers need to know
- Employee is covered under ADA if you perceive him to be disabled
- Document any slippage in employee performance to insulate against later discrimination claims
- Time off may be reasonable accommodation