One of new joiners in customer service team reported about people in office seen kissing or embarrassing in the office. What should I do with this new joinee.
Should I ask old employees not to be friendly with this new joinee or terminate this new joinee
Dear seniors
I have been working with one of the reputed hospital as HR I came with problem "One of new joiners in customer service team reported about people in office seen kissing or embarassing in the office"
Am not sure how to act on this: should I ask this new joinee not keep mum
Or spk to senior management
Or alert old employees about this new joinee or fire the new joinee...
Please help
Dear Ritu,
If some office staff has reported about unwanted affectionate play in the office then ask for the written application from the individual. Length of the service of the individual does not matter. Just because the matter was reported by a recently-joined employee does not reduce the gravity of the problem. Please do not look at the length of the service of the person who has brought this to your notice or his/her designation. If the person is hesitant to submit a written application, then do not force him/her to do that but note down the following details:
a) Who is involved in the "Public Display of Affection" (PDA)? Is it restricted only two individuals or many are there?
b) How many instances the newly joined employee has observed? How frequently this happens in a day?
c) Does the reporting manager know the sexual overtures of the couple?
Before telling that person to submit a written application, discuss the matter with the senior authority. Obtain his/her views. If he/she says to acquiesce, then better to keep quiet. However, there is a risk of keeping quiet too. Today's case of so-called affectation may turn out the case of sexual harassment tomorrow. In future, if a woman files a case of sexual harassment, it will increase your headache.
If you receive the go-ahead from the senior authority, then try to find out the merit of the incident on your own. Find out whether the closeness between two persons is owing to the work requirements or has an undertone of sexual attraction.
Once satisfied with their activities, you may call the couple in your office. Counsel them on maintaining propriety in manners and conduct at the workplace. Tell them that the workplace is not a private place per se. Therefore, such acts are forbidden in the workplace. Secondly, obsession with the team member of the opposite sex could increase their job-errors. Maintaining a discreet distance with the persons of the opposite sex is a general norm and they must observe it meticulously. If the couple starts denying their involvement, then tell them you have called them after sufficient investigation.
Handle the counselling only if you are competent to do so. Please make a note that longer length of service does not make a person a counsellor. "Counselling skills" are independent skills and these need to be learnt systematically.
You have asked whether you can "terminate this new joinee". If you do that then it would be a grave injustice against that person. Far from termination, you should be thankful to that person. If you start shooting down a messenger, then who will inform you what is going on at the shop floor?
In the modern workplaces, love could bloom but what is important is to avoid the display of love in the office premises. In their personal capacity and that too in the private place, let the couple do what they wish to do. But the workplace cannot be used by the employees to satiate their prurience.
Problems of this kind arise because it appears that you do not have a "Policy on Workplace Romance". Prepare the policy on this subject and circulate immediately to all the office members. When an employee joins an organisation, make him/her read this policy.
Dinesh Divekar
Any Indecent behaviour or conduct at the Workplace constitute Acts of Misconduct on the part of those who indulge in such Acts, hence initiate Necessary Discuipinary Action against such Employee as per the Service Rules applicable to such Employees identified.
Further, in case the Complainant is a Woman, please initiate Disciplinary Action, as above as the Incidents Reported is Unwelcome and Humiliating Acts amounting to Sexual Harassment at Workplace as per the Provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act 2013.
Kritarth Team of Spl Educators, PoSH Programs
Dear Colleague,
As per your post, a new joinee saw some co- worker kissing another at work premises and reported about it to you. I hope you have it in writing from him.
You seem to believe this as true even apparently without any investigation into it and jumping to hasty conclusions about whom to punish.
I am surprised that in your hospital there is no CCTV to find out such happenings.
Think how greatly it would have helped in knelling the culprit from the CCTV footage.
It would be now better to do first thing first -to ascertain the facts and then think of taking action.
Vinayak Nagarkar
Dear Ritu,
I have given a reply to your post already. However, this post is my reply to the other two respondents.
For Kritharth Team: - The post is about romantic behaviour between the two persons of the opposite sex. Occasionally staff members show overboldness but the matter needs to be handled consistently with the environment that is prevalent in the 21st century. Today's culture is open and outgoing. Against this backdrop, considering their behaviour as their misconduct, if we invoke "service rules" right at the beginning stage then it could kill the spirit of the modern workplace. By the way, 1-2 industries are known for a very open atmosphere. If HR Managers start taking disciplinary action like the personnel managers of the previous generation, then possibly those industries could close down. While other industries may not be as open as those industries but they are not conservative also. Therefore, counselling of the errant team members should be the first step.
Secondly, the person who has reported romantic behaviour between the two other persons is a third party. The complaint has not come from any female member who has claimed that she is a survivor of sexual harassment. Therefore, handling this matter under the provisions of POSH, 2013 is out of the question. Just you provide the consulting services on this act does not mean that somehow you will link this matter to the said act.
For Mr Vinayak Nagar: - Your suggestion in independent enquiry is good. Anyway, I have also written the same in my previous reply.
You have written that "knelling the culprit from the CCTV footage..."
Whether it is "knelling" or "nailing" is a different point but not in all the companies, the general staff is kept under CCTV surveillance like the workers of the famous film of Charlie Chaplin, "Modern Times". Keeping workers under surveillance is an old hat and world has moved in a big way. Gone are the days of close supervision. More than the person, the performance of the person is monitored.
Secondly, you have used the word "culprit". The physical closeness between the two team members of the opposite sex can be considered as their "wrongdoing". It will be appropriate to consider them as "culprit" provided they perpetrate their wrongdoing even after counselling or warning. Arraigning them for the misconduct would be a hasty decision.
Dinesh Divekar
You should talk to both employee first and get to know the truth, and if they found guilty then ask them to maintain the decency and moral conduct in office. Kissing or any other romantic action is the personal choice of a person , but not in office. You should also check CCTV camera if you have surveillance in hospital. This kind of action need to be stop as this can be effects other employees and environment as well.
You can take the action after knowing the reality from both side.
Better to make him understood that not to repeat such misconduct again, counselling is required.
Thanks & Regards,
sumit kumar saxena
Thank you all for the help... Today I received the message from management to fire this new joinee as she is under performing... What should I do... As I know she is doing just fine ...
Dear Ritu,
Even though if the performance is good then termination of an employee citing reasons for underperformance is illegal. If your management has communicated to terminate her then you may talk to them and tell them that the newly joined employee needs to be given a chance to correct her behaviour. All that is required from her is to change her orientation.
Please note that children also commit a lot of mistakes that embarrass their parents but that does not mean that the parents throw out their children out of the home.
I am not against termination of employee per se. The option of termination can be exercised provided employee remains incorrigible even after counselling.
This case is not that big as you have made out. Possibly you could be new to this kind of thing.
Personal experience: - During my HR days, in one of my employment, the company had provided with a uniform to the employees. There were various types of uniforms depending on the designation. For women managers, a saree and a blouse was the uniform. A smart lady purchased a blouse-piece of exact matching colour and stitched blouse on her own. Nothing was wrong when she did that but then the problem with the new blouse was that it was too revealing and it was embarrassing for other staff members. Incidentally, she was the seniormost amongst the women folks and we did not have any senior woman who could have counselled her. Finally, my General Manager and I, both of us counselled her and apprised her of the negative consequences of her action. She stopped doing whatever she was doing and normalcy was restored.
Dinesh Divekar
Divaker sir problem is that the termination order has come for the new joinee who has informed about wrong doing in the office. Her performance is just fine for a two month old staff.
You have written that "Divaker sir problem is that the termination order has come for the new joinee who has informed about wrong doing in the office. Her performance is just fine for a two month old staff."
I have given a reply on this point right in my first post. Nothing is ridiculous if you start terminating the whistleblowers. What does your management want from the couple? If unwanted physical intimacy is not nipped in the bud then tomorrow they might go a step further and have an intimate action in coram populo. Is your management prepared for that?
Secondly, if she approaches the Labour Office and files a complaint about the wrongful termination, how will you justify her termination? Does your management have even nerve to face the LO?
About the quality of your writing: - Your posts deserve feedback to you on the way you write. I am surprised at your confusing communication. Who was involved in the action and who was the informer that you have not written clearly. When would you like to learn the basics of business writing? If you avoid shortness and casualness in your communication, the better for your career!
Dinesh Divekar
Hi Ritu,
If your Management is firm of termination, in spite of your explanation, better persuade the employee to submit resignation and relieve her properly. This way she will not face hurdles in future. I think your Management want to conclude the issue with stubborn action so as to show example for others?.
Sir.. thanks for your valuable feedback on ,my writing skills. Will join a course on the
Same ASAP.
For the matter on this case in my very first post I wrote new joinee came to me with this issue (which makes her whistle blower , at least I understand)might be my bad.
I will be Moreno precise next time.
Thanks for the help. You are immensely helpful.
I am refraining myself from offering any definite solution on what you should do. I would rather suggest how you go about addressing the issue. In these days of permissiveness social norms have changed beyond recognition. In the absence of specific information I would only say this much. What you perceive as an egregious behavior on the part of one of your employees may after all be an offense to your sensibilities and may not be for the society in general. Sections and Provisions or Rules and Orders do not come to your rescue while dealing with situations like these, for the written words in the statute books are far behind ever involving societal norms that we encounter all the time in the office and outside the office. Consequently I would suggest caution. Let it not be an over reaction on your part. Try to be objective and practical. To my mind this is one behavioral aspect that can be corrected without capital punishment.
But I have a definite view on the second part of your communication. Terminating the services of a whistle blower is a sure shot recipe for disaster for an organisation besides it being unethical particularly in this case. A classic case of shooting the messenger for carrying an inconvenient message! It also has implication about your conduct as a representative of your organisation. What kind of a value system that you would be representing? What cue other employees should take from your action? Answers to both, in this case, does not augur well for you and your organisation. I am assuming here that you are using poor performance on the part of the whistle blower as a facade to get rid of him or her.
There is another aspect that I found a bit uncomfortable in this thread. Contributors are too ready and eager to be judgmental. Can't we do without it?
Dear Madam,
I think the action of terminating the new joinee would certainly send strong negative message that the management approve of permissive culture and that whoever reports about this will meet with termination of his/her job.
What does your management want? Convert the workplace into nesting hub for love-birds?
Vinayak Nagarkar
Though you have chosen to remain anonymous, the subject matter suggests that you are holding a position of some responsibility. The task you are assigned is morally depraving. You are required to take a stand on the issue and inform the management accordingly.
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