Is this gross misconduct

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by pentel, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. pentel

    pentel UKBF Regular Free Member

    406 66
    I have a member of staff who works within the same building as the rest of the company. This person has of late taken to almost always closing his computer screen whenever anyone approaches them. If it is left open then there is valid work being done.

    The immediate closing seemed suspicious to me so after they left one day I viewed their browser history to find that on 2 occasions when there were no management on site they spent the whole day looking for holidays, Christmas presents and other items not work related. There are several hundred page views per day.

    There are lots of things this person could have been working on during this time.

    Is this gross misconduct.
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: pentel Member since: Mar 12, 2011
    #1
  2. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,368 8,923
    Probably.

    But it all depends on their contract and your company IT policy.
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #2
  3. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,084 3,124
    You are starting at the wrong end.

    Get them in, explain that yiu had concerns becuse of their unusual behaviour and that you have checked the history. ask them what they have been doing and why. Then decide what to do next. If you have a strong IT useage policy that prohibits personal use then you can consider gross misconduct. If you don't then dismissal would be too heavy. Get a proper policy written that either prohibits personal internet use or limits it to official break times. And prohibits certain types of sites
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #3
  4. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Has the person been employed for more than two years, if not then you can let them go without reason
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #4
  5. dotcomdude

    dotcomdude UKBF Regular Full Member

    251 31
    At one of my companies we introduced a comprehensive IT policy, which restricted use of the computers/internet for personal use and included provision for 'network tracking'.

    Within about a month we had dismissed a senior manager (for carrying out unrelated work for another company) and a receptionist (for making derogatory posts on social media about her colleagues during work time). The network tracking ran automatically and made it really easy to see who was doing what...
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: dotcomdude Member since: Jul 27, 2018
    #5
  6. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    8,635 3,353
    There are certain nationalities that tend to do this - and the British are one of those nationalities. They (well, TBH some of them, certainly not all!) think that coming to work is some sort of recreational game, in which skiving is the stated goal.

    A well-known German company inherited a small London firm as part of a larger M&A deal and discovered managers coming in at 10am, people spending half the day doing what your guy has been up to and half the staff annoyed at the skiving of the other half. They introduced key-logging, swipe-cards for entry and a full eight-hour working day.

    The skivers all quit and the others produced more than all of them beforehand.

    Skiving not only wastes your money - it is infectious and deeply annoys all the others that want to work! Never forget that!
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #6
  7. Bob Morgan

    Bob Morgan UKBF Regular Free Member

    194 44
    Is this gross misconduct?
    Do you really need to ask that question? However, if that is the way you want to spend your money (or the money of the company you work for), who am I to question otherwise?
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Bob Morgan Member since: Apr 15, 2018
    #7
  8. LouiseP

    LouiseP UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    6 0
    As mentioned above, it depends whether you have an I.T policy and what it states. Or whether there have been logged discussions on this issue in the past, which this individual attended.

    This probably isn't gross misconduct, unless it is stated in a policy. If disciplinary action has been taken against them previously that is still valid (check) then it could be taken into consideration when an outcome is decided.

    There would need to be a conversation with the individual and then a decision made whether to carry out an investigation.

    Part of the consideration would need to take into account whether other employees use the internet during work hours for personal reasons. If there is a culture of this kind of use, or if it is overlooked whether others do it, then little action can be taken. The culture would need to be changed first. Every individual would need to be treated the same.
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: LouiseP Member since: Jan 9, 2019
    #8
  9. pentel

    pentel UKBF Regular Free Member

    406 66
    Thanks all.

    Lots of comments about IT usage.

    I was looking at it more from the "they are doing personal work instead of company work" direction.
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: pentel Member since: Mar 12, 2011
    #9
  10. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,326 2,096
    If you put a bowl of sweets out with no signs , you would not be supprised if people pick some out and eat them without asking, if you have a note that says only for visitors and they are not visitors then its theft

    Your first action is to issue a no private use on either the computer system and company phones and that monitoring will be made automatically looking for misuse, and get a copy to all staff and get them to sign it. that will make sure they all know the rules and will face disciplinary action if found using either for private use without prior permission. get advice from a expert on the exact wording to use

    AS I stated if they have under two years employment with you , then you dont need to give a reason just tell them they are no longer required and pay them there notice and holiday pay earned
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #10
  11. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,084 3,124
    What do you do if they stare out of the window for hours on end, or gossip with colleagues?
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #11
  12. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,866 671
    That is because taking action for breach of an actual policy is far quicker and easier than for poor performance. This person wasn't "doing personal work" they were just not doing their actual work. Unfortunately poor performance is not gross misconduct. The correct process for dealing with it requires that you review/identify it, offer training/assistance and allow time to see if they have improved. This of course assumes that you can point to actual work that they should have done that wasn't completed.

    Disciplining because someone breached a documented IT/Phone policy is straight to a warning. Way simpler.
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
    #12
  13. Employment Law Clinic

    Employment Law Clinic UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    3,242 1,529
    All this discussion about an IT policy is completely unnecessary, a distraction: if the employee said for example he was going into a meeting with colleagues, but instead walked out of the office to go shopping, it would be clear misconduct. The fact he’s sat at his desk, acted carefully to conceal his activities when others are close-by, changes nothing – he’s still acted deviously, not performing the duties that he is employed for & expected to do.


    The contractual term that is relevant is an implied term that exists in every employment contract: “trust”. The employee has breached this term, and should rightly be investigated for misconduct.


    Karl Limpert
     
    Posted: Jan 9, 2019 By: Employment Law Clinic Member since: Aug 10, 2009
    #13
  14. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,017 210
    I've never really had a proper job. But when I did, back in the day, I was on Facebook Ads setting up and tweaking ads for my side ventures, on work time.

    The site was blocked the next day.
     
    Posted: Jan 10, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
    #14
  15. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    About 18 years ago I worked for a multinational company for 3 years. Initially I was unaware of an IT policy and had no contract or employee handbook.

    A year or so after I started the company came up with an IT policy for all staff. We were handed a folder with it in and a sheet we had to sign to say we had read and understood it.
    I read it fine, understanding it was beyond me. So I did not sign.
    Not refused, just passed to the next person.

    Most of the operations staff just signed, neither reading nor understanding.

    Sadly in other jobs since have come across staff who will agree to stuff without reading it. Creating later problems.
     
    Posted: Jan 10, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #15
  16. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,326 2,096
    I think that just by reading it you accepted the terms and would have no room to debate the legalities of breaking the policy
     
    Posted: Jan 10, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #16
  17. DontAsk

    DontAsk UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,065 139
    How does that work? If you don't read it, how do you know whether you want to accept it?
     
    Posted: Jan 11, 2019 By: DontAsk Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #17
  18. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Probably broke it daily. Understanding is not the same as reading a dense policy.
     
    Posted: Jan 11, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #18
  19. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,084 3,124
    If you have received it, just not signing it is not enough to refuce to accept it. You have to specify that you don't accept.
     
    Posted: Jan 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #19
  20. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    14,921 1,630
    How does that work regarding signing to say read and understand the policy?
     
    Posted: Jan 11, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #20