Disgruntled Employee Litigation & Office Decorum

Law Blog

As the owner of a business, large or small, civil litigation can cause issues for your company. There is the headache of having to deal with a legal case, plus image and reputation problems that can be an inherent part of having a civil action brought against your business. Issues at the office between employees can turn into these types of legal headaches.

By establishing rules for decorum for your employees that are reasonable and consistent you can reduce, or even eliminate this potential problem. A clearly posted set of office decorum rules will remove all doubt when it comes to how your employees are expected to conduct themselves while at work. Here are two office decorum rules that can give your employees a clear understanding of how they are expected to conduct themselves while on the job. Dress and Language may seem very simple, but establishing and posting clearly written rules can help prevent problems from happening. 

Office Decorum Basics

The occasional disappointed, or disgruntled employee can be a reality of doing business. Like the old saying goes, "you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time".

Office decorum, as it relates to dress codes and employee language, is one aspect of your relationship with employees where you can establish specific guidelines for your workers to follow. Without clear guidelines you will not be able to prevent issues from happening that could be easily prevented by a clear set of principles workers are expected to follow.

1. Dress Code

Be clean and concise with dress requirements, if you want to implement a dress code as part of your office decorum. You must be consistent and realistic. Do not expect your workers to abide by a dress code that you cannot enforce.

Be very careful not to create a sexist agenda with your dress code, but you can make simple requirements. The easiest way to maintain a consistent dress code for office decorum purposes is to emphatically draw the line between business professional and business casual.

Business casual vs. Business formal

Sometimes it is simply unrealistic to expect business formal all the time. Know what type of clothing requirements best fit your type of business and do not exceed this baseline. If you are a company that offers professional type services, by all means expect professional business attire, but if you provide a more casual service, allow your employees some flexibility.

2. Language at the Workplace

Words can be hurtful and the productivity of employees often suffers when they are concerned about how they are treated on the job. The words, or language etiquette of another employee can drain productivity.

Post rules for verbal communications between your employees. While might seem like common sense to you, not everyone will follow the same rules of language etiquette in life. At the workplace though, speaking to another employee using disrespectful, or vulgar language needs to be forbidden.

Other examples of unacceptable workplace communications are comments that contain sexual, or racial overtones. Openly criticizing another employee in front of other employees should also be highly discouraged. Even supervisors should refrain from making critical statements about workers in front of other employees. It is not a good way to maintain good company morale.

If you do not have a clearly posted set of rules addressing how employees can, and most importantly cannot speak to one another, you will have a difficult time addressing these issues, if they occur. Worst of all, without a company policy to follow you will have a hard time dismissing an employee who regularly crosses the line of what is deemed acceptable language at the workplace.

Be Consistent

While many of these directives may be common sense, as the boss of your business, you need to be rigidly consistent when applying these two basic rules for office decorum. Do not play favorites, even though you may have certain employees that you realize might be more viable to the success of your business. When it comes to a dress code and acceptable office language, stick to the principle that every employee is equal no matter how valuable they may be, or the standing they may have within the company hierarchy. 

If you have any questions about how to establish a good set of office decorum guidelines, consult with a business attorney. They will be able to guide you setting up general rules for your business and be able to advise you on how to prevent civil litigation headaches from disgruntled employees. Contact a lawyer, such as Patrick D. Brown, P.C., for more information. 


18 July 2016

Knowing Your Legal Rights Can Help You Greatly in Life

Like many people, I once found learning about law very intimidating. My brother went to law school and I remember glancing through a few of his books and wondering if I was actually reading English due to all of the legal jargon in them! However, when I ended up in a sticky legal situation due to accidentally breaking a small law I didn't know existed, I realized that I needed to learn more about the law, so I could make sure to follow it precisely in the future. My brother helped to break down some complicated legal concepts to me, and I have since been studying up online. I want to post what I have learned and continue to learn about law in the future on my new blog, so my knowledge cannot only help myself, but also help others!