By Richard Burton, Special for USDR
It’s no secret that office work can be tedious. Long days spent in seemingly endless yet unproductive meetings. Lonely hours sequestered in a joyless cubical. The torments of rush-hour traffic. Lunch hours spent eating microwaved leftovers at your desk. Coffee breaks and trips to the water cooler that somehow fail to make the end of the business day seem even one second closer. The monotony of the nine-to-five routing can feel claustrophobic, even soul-crushing. It is little wonder some office workers try to spice up their days by getting into trouble, acting out, flirting with colleagues, etc. And some of them take that sort of conduct a step – – or a giant leap – – further.
In my over 20 years of representing corporations on a variety of matters, I have literally “seen it all” when it comes to employee misconduct. In fact, during my career, I have personally conducted over 100 HR investigations. In the course of those investigations, I have become privy to shocking behavior among employees and management, ranging from the idiotic to the bizarre to the flat-out criminal. Some examples of work place misconduct include:
- One employee physically assaulting a co-worker
- Theft and embezzlement of company property
- Sexual activity at the office
- The use and sale of drugs at the office
- Employees being arrested at work for conduct that took place in their personal lives
- Racial slurs being hurled between co-workers
- Domestic disputes bubbling over from home to the office when an angry spouse shows up to continue a fight that started at home
Keeping work and private life separate is a good idea, but in this highly connected era, it may be harder than it seems. We’ve all heard stories of modern-day would-be Ferris Buellers who call in sick but then post to Facebook pictures of themselves at the beach or out partying, setting the post to public or forgetting that they accepted a friend request from a boss or HR rep. Even when your outside activities have nothing to do with work, there may be consequences back at the job. During off hours, your job may define you enough that the damage to your personal reputation affects your workplace reputation. Or worse, your company may decide they don’t want to be associated with you. And rest assured, what you do on your own time often has a way of finding its way back to the workplace. What happens in Vegas not only may not stay in Vegas, it could cost you your job!
Employees Gone Wild is a funny and comprehensive look at how to stay out of trouble at the office and what to do if you find yourself in hot water.