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I had an employee find a type written note in her mail box today that said ” everyone else works 8 hours a day why don’t you.” We believe we know who left this note. If we find out how can we discipline? We would like to be heavy handed as this is not acceptable.

Unfortunately, every workplace at some point in time will have a negative or mean-spirited employee that must be counseled. The employee in question should absolutely be spoken with but the level of discipline really depends on the details of the situation. Why did the employee send the message? Is he/she targeting just the one employee? If so, why? Have there been other similar incidents?

You may find out the employee in question is simply unhappy in his/her job or upset with the other employee for some reason. In this case, the employee should be counseled on appropriate workplace conduct. Make it clear that sending negative or distressing messages to any employee is inappropriate and unacceptable. Further, highlight the good things both employees contribute to the workplace and how respect and understanding for others can improve workplace relationships.

Upon investigating the matter, you may find the situation goes beyond a distasteful note. Maybe the employee is being targeted because of a disability or other protected characteristic. Or, the employee in question has sent similar negative notes to other workers. In these cases more severe disciplinary action like a written warning or suspension may be necessary. Severe or pervasive conduct that can be considered hostile or abusive warrants termination.

Though a “heavy handed” disciplinary response may be necessary in some circumstances, sometimes employees need to be encouraged to treat each other with respect and understanding in a different way. Consider team building activities that encourage supportive and empathetic behaviors.


This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2016 at 3:27 pm and is filed under
Workplace Management.
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