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Old 09-23-2013, 07:03 AM
Napier Napier is online now
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Someone commits offensive behavior the company "does not tolerate" -- what do you expect to happen?

Say a company says it "does not tolerate" offensive behavior of certain kinds, and an employee commits such behavior, what does that mean? Does the company give them a dirty look, scold them, suspend them a few days without pay, demote them, fire them, or what? Specific examples include: yelling racial or other demographic slurs and not stopping when asked, or double dipping on an expense report, or harassing coworkers in a more or less sexual way, or stealing a promotional giveaway tee shirt.

I'm not asking in general how companies make up and enforce rules. I am asking more particularly about the phrase "does not tolerate" (or "will not tolerate"). Does it mean that no amount of the behavior is pardonable, and thus this phrase is only used to mark offenses that cause immediate termination? Or is it a more vague phrase that means "don't do that and if you do we'll figure something out"?
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:12 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is online now
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A "does not tolerate" leads directly to "corrective action up to and including immediate termination." As far as I know, we have few zero-tolerance office behaviours but we have many things that will lead to a nice long talk with HR at first occurrance.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:15 AM
aNewLeaf aNewLeaf is offline
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Need answer fast?

Corrective action as DrFidelius said, but on paper. You may just get a scolding, but you'll sign a paper saying you were scolded.
But if it's a severe enough infraction you'll be asked to clock out and leave. Yelling racist epithets at a customer, as opposed to in the backroom, for example.

Edit for specificity:

Quote:
this phrase is only used to mark offenses that cause immediate termination?
"May" result in immediate termination, not that they necessarily will in all circumstances.

Last edited by aNewLeaf; 09-23-2013 at 07:16 AM..
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:30 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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The kinds of examples you give would be met with termination in my place of employment. We haven't had any of them that I know of, but were they to happen, I'm confident they wouldn't stand. We did have one Very Bad Incident which I'm not going to detail here because my boss does know how to google, but I'll say that it was equivalently bad, and that employee is no longer with us and was reported to her licensing board.

We have lots of other "requirements" which if not met will result in "a write up" or "a warning in your file," but they're hardly ever actually enforced thusly, and when they are, they don't accumulate and lead to further action or anything. We've got a direct supervisor who has her hands tied by a very lenient owner, and her staff knows it, and takes horrible advantage of her. For example, I'm the only one who's shown up for our twice monthly mandatory-required-by-Medicare-if-you-don't-show-you'll-be-written-up meeting for the last 18 months. No one's been fired over it yet, but my supervisor fumes about the lack of attendance every time. *shrug* Works for me. I do the bare minimum actually required and I look like a rock star employee. They gave me a plaque with my name on it and a very generous bonus and everything.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:19 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier View Post
Say a company says it "does not tolerate" offensive behavior of certain kinds, and an employee commits such behavior, what does that mean? Does the company give them a dirty look, scold them, suspend them a few days without pay, demote them, fire them, or what? Specific examples include: yelling racial or other demographic slurs and not stopping when asked, or double dipping on an expense report, or harassing coworkers in a more or less sexual way, or stealing a promotional giveaway tee shirt.
"Does not tolerate" usually means you'll be fired.

In reality, there is not single "way" all companies work. And the company itself is not some monolithic entity that acts in a constant and consistent manner. The HR department, for example, does not run the company. The company is typically run by people who actually have P&L responsibility and have signed long-term contracts that state specifically how and why they can be terminated.

Specific example, one of the senior directors at my old job was trying to get someone fired. Justified, IMHO because of their behavior and incompetence. HR made him jump through all these hoops documenting examples and whatnot. Ultimately it was just a useless exercise. The employee in question ultimately was fired because the head of the practice saw his utilization report. The guy had billed something like 4 hours the entire month because none of the directors or project managers would staff him on their projects.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:23 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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Saying that there is behavior that the company "does not tolerate" means that they will not let the behavior slide without taking some kind of action. It doesn't necessarily mean instant termination - just something other than nothing.

It would (IMO) be just as accurate to say that the company "does not tolerate" being late for work as to say the company "does not tolerate" sexual harassment. You could be counseled/disciplined/fired for either. It just sounds more ominous than "this is against company rules".

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:32 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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It's an unfortunate truth that in corporations the rules are often applied unevenly, and there is greater tolerance of bad behavior from people at the top of the food chain than people at the bottom.

At the hospital I worked at, a secretary was caught embezzling. The hospital called the police and she was arrested. A couple of years later, they caught a VP embezzling. She was allowed to resign, and she quickly found another job in health care in the community. Clearly, the hospital didn't say anything negative about her if they were asked for a reference.

Last edited by Boyo Jim; 09-23-2013 at 08:33 AM..
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