Terminating Employees for Misconduct Outside of Work (Updated for COVID-19)
Your colleagues may go to happy hours at coronavirus-infested bars or spend their weekends at beaches frolicking too close to sick surfers. Even worse, they might post racist rants on their personal Facebook accounts or sexually harass people they encounter outside of work.
You likely want to ban all objectionable activities, fire offenders who harm others and embarrass your organization, and tell the risk-takers to stay away from your workplace, but you need to be mindful of employees’ rights.
As governments ease COVID-19 restrictions and your organization resumes work for some and continues telecommuting arrangements for others, you need to know what policies you should implement and which will run afoul of the law. You have a duty to keep employees safe without impeding their civil rights. Navigating this fine line requires extensive knowledge, excellent communication, and a bit of compassion.
- What policies should you adopt for returning employees?
- What policies are necessary for teleworkers?
- May you limit personal activities that could increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your organization?
- May you fire employees for external transgressions, such as offensive Facebook posts or sexual harassment?
- Which states have lifestyle discrimination laws or lawful activities statutes?
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