Employee misconduct and discipline


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Employee Discipline and Misconduct-A Learning Resource from
Jayadeva de Silva

Published in: Business, Technology

Employee misconduct and discipline

  1. 1. Jayadeva de Silva
  2. 2. Introduction '  “Management is the process of efficiently getting activities completed with and through other people’’.  The Management process includes planning, organizing, leading and controlling activities that take place to accomplish objectives.  People vs Other factors
  3. 3. HR Function  Recruitment, Selection, Development, Motivation, Retention  Obtaining the services of people, preparing them, activating them and keeping them.  Discipline Misconduct Punishment is about, -activating -retaining or not retaining people
  4. 4. Understanding what discipline is all about  The standard of performance the company expects from the worker is “Discipline”.  Performance is also a kind of behaviour.  A kind of behaviour that is expected by the organization.  Assume that employee performance is a function of his skill and motivation. (P = S X M).  Some workers will not provide the accepted behavior even if they have the skill and motivation.
  5. 5.  Right kind of people, in the right number, in right places, at the right time is part of Human Resource Planning (HRP).  Attracting and retaining the right persons to the organization is important  But only the right persons Human Resources –Dicsiplinary Control
  6. 6. What about wrong Persons ?  What about wrong persons ?  Reform or Rejected  Let us look at the next picture
  7. 7. Keep them Informed  Employees are informed about Discipline through  Letter of Appointment  Disciplinary Code  Employee Hand book  Notices  Circulars etc.
  8. 8. Now Let us look at some cases
  9. 9.  Sri Lankan Ports Authority Vs Balin Silva  A workman was absent on 3 earlier occasions and duly warned and punished in terms of the Circular. 4th time he was terminated.  The L.T. held that it was two harsh a punishment and that the Circular was enforced discriminately.  The Court of Appeal found no grounds that the Circular was applied discriminately and termination was up held.  Court of Appeal held that the Circular should be strictly applied in order to maintain discipline among such a large group of employees. There were around 15, 000 employees.
  10. 10. What are Expressed and Impressed conditions of Employment ?  Conditions of employment  expressed.  implied
  11. 11. Discipline-Misconduct-Punishment  External Force- Punishment  Eg. An employee who is habitually late (a behavior which is not accepted) is punished (external disciplinary force),  So that his behavior is modified.  This is an issue that involves discipline, misconduct and punishment.
  12. 12. What is Discipline ?  DISCIPLINE  Discipline is simply “good behaviour”. A situation where there is no issues, disordered, chaos, confusion, disobedience, misconduct etc. It is the expected standard of behaviour of employees, which is required for an organisation to function in an orderly and legal manner.  “The conduct, expected by the organization” ( Silva 1995)  The term discipline refers to a condition in the organisation. When employees conduct themselves in accordance with the organization’s rules and standards of acceptable behaviour. ( De Cenzo and Robbins 1999)  Discipline is about Expected Behavior standards
  13. 13. In other words…..  The word discipline is synonymous with the words  regulation,  order,  control,  restraint,  obedience  authority
  14. 14. Let us look at some more definitions of Discipline
  15. 15.  Practice of controlling the employees through strict laws and punishing them when they are violated.  Method of encouraging employees to behave in accordance with the standards created by the organization  Training that is used to have organisation regulations enforced.  Official instructions given by the organisation as to what an employee should do and should not do. Eg. Work should commence at 8.15 A.M. daily  Objective of discipline is to encourage workers to behave in a sensible manner.  Behave in a sensible manner
  16. 16. Why do we need Discipline ?
  17. 17. From a case  The Ceylon General Workers Union Vs Wellawatte Spinning and Weaving Mills Limited  It was observed …“ I consider a quarrel among workman a serious matter and deserves the highest reprimand . If workman cannot settle their affairs peacefully it will eventually end in a breakdown or at least destruction the smooth flow of work in the work place
  18. 18. To…..  To regularize the behavior of the employees.  smooth and efficient functioning of an Organization,  To preserve organizations rules and regulations which are made to achieve objectives.  As a part of the “controlling” function in Management,  For the health and safety of workers prevent accidents  To build a mutual co-operation amongst workers.,  To co-ordinate different departments of the Organisation,
  19. 19. EDM What is meant by Employee Disciplinary Management (EDM)?
  20. 20. EDM …….. “It is the systematic procedure of creating, promoting and maintaining employee discipline so that goals and objectives of the Organization are accomplished”..
  21. 21. Components of EDM  policy statement.  the rules and regulations,  Why so  authority  Awareness .  Monitor violations.  Punishment  Reviewed and revised .  Creating Awareness .
  22. 22. Explain….  Explain the Terms  -Preventive Discipline and  -Corrective Discipline
  23. 23. Preventive  Disciplining Employees Before-Preventive Discipline  intended to prevent any rule violation  A proactive approach.  HR Department can help to create awareness programmes. create a preventive disciplinary culture in the organization
  24. 24. Corrective  Disciplining Employees After - Corrective Discipline  after a breach of a discipline  prevent any future rule violation.  A reactive approach.  fire - fighting
  25. 25. + and - Positive and negative Approaches to Discipline
  26. 26. ++++++++  Positive Approach to Discipline  Not personal.  Rejects the misconduct not the employee.  To reform  Employees are bound to make mistake  - Way forward in HRM
  27. 27. - - -  Negative Approach to Discipline  Personal.  Rejects Employee not the misconduct.  To take revenge,  Employees should not commit any mistake  -Way back wards in HRM
  28. 28. Hot Stove  What is “Hot Stove principle” ?  When one touches a Hot Stove, the result is “instant – it burns. People know that if one touches a Hot Stove he /she burns up. This is a ‘warning’.  The result of touching a Hot Stove does not change From time to time there is a “consistency” of the result, i.e. each time it is touched, there will be burning.  Further the “degree” of the burn depends on the duration you keep touching it,  Finally the result is not “personal”. However, touches get burnt irrespective of, gender, age or statues
  29. 29. Application….  Application of Hot - Stove principle to Punishment  “instant”. Response  “ Warning “ Prevents  “ Consistency” is crucial  “ Degree ” Gravity  “personal”, No luck
  30. 30. Note…  In the case of The Ceylon Plantation Workers Union Vs Superintendent Baddegama Estate  It was held that (Our courts have repeatedly held) the fact that an employee occupies an important position in his union doesn’t entitle him to any immunity from punishment or different treatment in the matter of punishment
  31. 31. Be Positive
  32. 32.  Be positive - What is meant by Progressive Discipline ?  oral warning,  1st st warning,  2nd warning,  Final warning  2nd Final warning  Termination
  33. 33.  Be positive Counseling Approach for Discipline  identify the causal effect.  Use counseling techniques-listen “  one individual uses a set of techniques or skills to help another individual take responsibility or and to manage their own decision making whether it is work related or personal”  E.g. an employee being late for work regularly  Eg Good employee absent regularly as of late
  34. 34. How to give feedback to employees?
  35. 35.  Sandwich Model of giving feedback  “ Your punctuality is excellent ” +  “ but you always report 15 to 30 minutes late after the lunch break that affects our operation” -  “If not you are our most productive worker” +
  36. 36. Misconduct  What is MISCONDUCT ?  The word Misconduct is synonymous with the words ,Misdemeanor, delinquency ,transgression bad behaviour, misbehaviour, and wrong doing ,offence etc  As per the case of Shalimar Rope Works Mazdoor Union Vs. Shalimar Rope Works Ltd. (1953) ..  ”. “An act should be regarded as an act of misconduct if it is inconsistent, with the fulfillment of express or implied conditions of service or if it has a material bearing on the smooth and efficient working of the concern –
  37. 37. Why does a person misconducts himself or herself ?
  38. 38.  Why does a person misconducts himself or herself  economic,  environment  natural inclination to misconduct,  unsuitable working conditions,  bad management  deviation from past practices,
  39. 39.  denial or neglect of known issues  sudden provocation,  conflict of interest or values,  Psychological reasons,  individual styles, disorganization,  selfish interest, ulterior motives or  malicious intent, disparity in relative skills, etc  conflict if not resolved lead to misconduct.
  40. 40. Situations  Misconduct Arises …..  Attendance,  On the JOB behaviors.  Dishonesty,  Out side activities.
  41. 41. Gravity of the Incident  GRAVITY  Position held by the employee  In the case of H.G. Jayasekera vs The Ceylon Transport Board, a Conductor attempted fraud of Rs.1.40. The Court, taking into consideration the nature of the business which was transporting people for money and the employee’s position, the Court held that “as such the employee, being the conductor who is in charge of collecting the money should act honestly. Hence, this was considered a grave act of misconduct
  42. 42. Gravity….  The Nature of the Business  In the case of Ceylon Mercantile Union vs Bartleet and Company, the employee was found trying to remove 16 ounces of tea. The Employee’s Union was going on the basis that, as the quantum is small, it is not a grave act of misconduct, but the Court held that the nature of the business was producing tea and what the employee stated was the main produce. Hence, it was a grave act of misconduct.  In a similar case LEWU vs The Superintendent Glen Alpin Group an employee who has worked for 36 years was terminated for having take 5-6 ounces of tea without the employers permission.
  43. 43. E code says…  The Establishment Code E-code states that the seriousness of the misconduct must be judged not only by the Act itself but in relation to the office held by the person concerned and the circumstances surrounding it (p.66 Vol. II).
  44. 44. Keeping away from work  Absenteeism  Absenteeism becomes a misconduct when it is habitual and without authority. In the case of All Ceylon Commercial and Industrial Workers Union VS General Industries Limited it was held that chronic absenteeism strikes to the very root of production , and employer cannot reasonably expected to tolerate such behavior beyond certain point .  In the case of Bawa Crockery House Limited Vs Bhoumik the courts held that absence of the workman for half a day without justification is not misconduct. It has to be habitual and continues.
  45. 45. Getting late…  Late attendance  Perera Vs The Insurance Corporation of Ceylon it was held that Repeated Unpunctuality is serious breach of duty
  46. 46. Being Negligent….  Negligence  in the case of Lever Bros Eksath Kamkaru Samithiya Vs Lever Bros (Ceylon) . The Supervisor in charge of certain machinery was found sleeping on duty at his work station.  The machines should be attended to all the time if not there could be serious damage caused to the workers and property.  The supervisor’s conduct was considered as an act of negligence
  47. 47. Disobeying….  Disobedience,  It was held in Premadsa Rodrigo Vs Ceylon Petroleum Corporation The person issuing a relevant order must have the authority to do so ,if not there can be no disobedience .Order must be clear, positive and unambiguous.  It was held in Equipment and Construction Company Vs Cooray that Refusal to obey reasonable orders is a misconduct
  48. 48. Abusing…  Abuse ,  In the case of Wanija Ha Karmika Sewaka Sangamaya Vs Ceylon Glass Company Hooting ,jeering and humiliating an executive is a misconduct .
  49. 49. Assaulting…..  Assault,  In the case of Piyasena VS Battaramulla Talangama Town Council it was held that Assaulting a superior officer even outside the premises and out of working hours is a grave misconduct  In the case of Ceylon Mercantile Union vs M.D.Gunasena and Co Ltd., it was held that Assaulting a fellow employee is misconduct
  50. 50. Being dishonest….  Dishonesty  It was held in the case of The CMU vs M.D. Gunasena and co limited alteration of a medical certificate amounts to misconduct  Iin the case of Nidahas Karmika Saha Velanda Sevaka Vurthiya Samithiya vs K.W. Susiripala it was held that Diverting the employers customers to a business rival was misconduct.  In the case of The CMU Vs The British Electric Co Ltd it was held that Conspiracy to ruin the employers business, is misconduct .  In the case of Charted Bank of India Vs Patel it was held that disclosing confidential information relating to the employers business, was a dishonest act.
  51. 51. Being drunk  Drunkenness.  It was observed In the case of Cloustan & Co Limited Vs Corry The intoxication may be habitual or gross and directly interfere with the business of the employer or the ability of the servant to render service.  Or  it also could be an isolated act committed under circumstances of festivity and in no way connected with or effecting the employers business , hence it depends on the question of fact .  In the state sector consumption of liquor in violation of a circular has been held as a serious misconduct
  53. 53.  In Jeewandarage Dayawathi Vs Pugoda Textiles Limited the workman a Machine Operator was dismissed for thieving 03 pieces of cloth  period of service ( 8 years ),  the first act of misconduct,  negligible value of the pieces of cloth.  The workman was a cancer patient undergone surgery on several occasions  LT she was reinstated without back wages on one year probation.  High Court reversed the decision of the LT,  but the Supreme Court restored the order of the LT.
  54. 54.  1. Seriousness of the problem  eg Dishonesty is usually considered most serious than reporting to work 20 minutes late.   2. Duration of the problem  eg.The first occurrence is usually viewed differently than the 3rd or 4th offence.  3.Frequency and nature of the problem  Eg. Is there a pattern in the occurrence which could be identified
  55. 55.  4..Employees’ work history Eg. How long, quality of the service, does he have a strong track record, period of service in the organization. Good and bad  5.Explanatory factors Eg. A person who gets late to report to work on a particular day due to his child being ill should be dealt with leniently than a person who is late due to over sleeping
  56. 56.  6.Degree of Socialization Eg. Does the employee know the rules and regulations, is he comparatively a new employee who has had not the time to familiarize with the rules and regulations. Has the management made an effort, create awareness  7.History of the organizations discipline practice Eg. Equiity demands consistency against some relevant bench mark
  57. 57.  8. Implication for other employees Eg. There is little point to taking a certain action against the employee if it has a dysfunctional affect on others in the Unit  9. Management backing Eg. If the employees decide to take case to a high level in management will you have reasonable evidence to justify your decision  Individual disputes may lead to Collective disputes.
  58. 58. Punishment
  59. 59.  PUNISHMENT  Sri Laxshmi Saraswathi Motor Transport Co VS Labour Court. A workman who was an office bearer of a union had 17 years of service and a clean record.  One day he was found guilty for the delay in transmitting some documents from the employer’s branch office to the head office and he was dismissed.  The worker admitted that it was his fault but said that it was due to forgetfulness.  The Court held that the punishment was grossly disproportioned with the misconduct.
  60. 60. Types of Punishment  Types of Punishment  Oral warning,  Written warning  Fine or recovery of damages  Suspension without pay  Transfers  Stop, reduce or delay wage increments  Demotion  Compulsory retirement  Termination of service
  61. 61. Rules of natural justice
  62. 62.  Rules of Natural Justice ? In English law, natural justice for  the rule against bias (nemo iudex in causa sua) – Distributive Justice and  the right to a fair hearing (audi alteram partem).- Procedural Justice
  63. 63. Sample of a HR Policy on Discipline