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Just Because You Can—Should You? Disciplining Employees for failing to Follow COVID-19 rules outside of work.

Welcome to the first podcast of the 2021 New Year! Today, Steve and I are chatting with Chris and Perry about employees not adhering to CDC rules with the potential to spread COVID into the workplace. Steve asked me this pointed question last week, specifically disciplining workers who do not adhere to CDC pandemic guidelines. We ask Chris and Perry, ‘Can you discipline an employee for going to a party and socializing outside of work?’

Can You Discipline Employees on How They Spend Their Personal Time?

Chris has had experience dealing with a similar situation. “It’s what got me thinking about an employer who called me about an employee who’d been written up.” The case for this particular employer was reprimanding his employee for holding a public party during the holidays for other employees. As a result of this party, there was an outbreak among workers, resulting in an employee’s hospitalization.

Implementing Policies that Regulate Off-Duty Conduct

Perry adds, “If you’re going to take action against employees for parties and social gatherings, it’s good to make sure that this has already been written down in your COVID policy.” Having clearly defined off-limits activities in a written, binding policy is a good step forward to cover yourself as a business entity. Perry adds that if the activity involved others who are not employees if the act is egregious enough, that discipline is warranted.

Listen in as we discuss how to police the distinctions between personal activity and employee actions that warrant discipline, the aspect of these policies on employee relations, and how you can use coaching or a warning as an alternative action.

Resources Mentioned

SC Employer’s Blog

Check out Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd Law Services

SHRM on the web

A BIG Thank You to our Sponsors Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Check out their COVID-19 Business Resource Center

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