10 Common Employee Conduct Issues & How to Resolve Them

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis


29 Oct 2018



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For more detailed answers on how to deal with the above issues, see below:

  1. Producing shoddy work, taking shortcuts and cutting corners

This type of activity is likely to be wilful. Investigate informally, first ascertaining if there is an underlying reason why the issues keep happening. For the more serious issues go through the disciplinary process for conduct or gross misconduct following the investigation.

  1. Hiding mistakes from managers and colleagues

Hiding a mistake suggests a capability issue. Conduct an investigation to ascertain why the mistakes are being made and why they are being hidden. Depending on the level of mistake, there could be informal approach, support and guidance, or a formal disciplinary route might be appropriate.

  1. Gossiping, insulting & badmouthing colleagues

This can constitute harassment and varying levels of misconduct dependant on the facts. If the employee raises a formal grievance, investigate thoroughly and hold interviews with the accused. Re-training and/or disciplinary action may be required depending on the severity of the harassment.

  1. Delegating tasks that do not need to be delegated

If this issue comes to you and cannot be resolved informally, then an investigation may be necessary. If the delegator does not have a legitimate case, raise a grievance through the company grievance procedure and take appropriate action, including formal disciplinary process.

  1. Slacking off and taking long breaks

Firstly, the manager should have an informal discussion with the employee. They may draw a line in the sand, and outline expected improvements. Subsequent instances may require a performance improvement plan. If the issues persists then disciplinary action may need to be considered.

  1. Taking credit for another employee’s work

Speak to the individual to ascertain if it is a one off or mistake or regular issue and try to remedy informally. If unable to remedy speak to your manager who will speak to the individual and demand a stop to it. Then put measure in place so it doesn’t happen again in the future.

  1. Taking time off sick when it is unnecessary to do so

Conduct a return to work interview. This in itself may deter the employee. Persistent short term absence can be addressed through short term absence procedure. Involve, where appropriate, an occupational health specialist and obtain medical evidence if absences become frequent.

  1. Stealing office equipment

Theft is classed as gross misconduct. Take immediate action to investigate and understand the situation. Consider suspension of the employee(s) concerned to manage risk. If the investigation provides sufficient evidence then this should be taken to a disciplinary hearing.

  1. Misuse of email, internet or social media.

If you don’t already, create a policy around this area. An informal action of a ‘Line in the Sand’ letter to bring to the attention of the employee the unacceptability of these actions may suffice, otherwise the company disciplinary procedures can be followed.

  1. Discrimination towards colleagues or customers

This is completely unacceptable and in all circumstances should be dealt with strongly and swiftly through the disciplinary process. This is an act of gross misconduct.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.


Andrew Willis

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