need a "Gross Misconduct" definition list

We're modifying our personnel policy to specify that employees terminated for gross misconduct will not be paid accrued annual/vacation leave upon separation. I'd like to include a line, "Gross Misconduct includes but is not limited to..." and cite at least three examples. What examples would be most appropriate? I'd like to list some that aren't so obvious, such as workplace violence, stealing, embezzlement, etc., but not necessarily if that will imply we'd exclude the more obvious ones.



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  • I'm not sure I would define them. . even with the "not limited to", the first one you forget to list will be the next one someone commits. Just my thoughts. . am sure others will offer theirs.
  • I'm concerned about that, too. But this Personnel Policy is also the employee handbook, and I really don't know if our employees would have a clue as to what the professional term Gross Misconduct really means. We've changed our "light duty" policy to a "modified work assignment" policy because of a misunderstanding about what "duty" is.

  • We call it employee conduct and work rules

    Although it is not possible to list all the forms of unacceptable behavior that are considered unacceptable in the workplace, the following are eexamples........

    Theft or inappropriate removal of company or another employee's property

    Fraud, dishonesty or falsification of any company records including timecards, employment application

    Working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs-possession, distribution, sale, transfer of the same

    Fighting or threatening violence


    Gambling on company property

    Sleeping on the job

    Just to name a few

  • I'm not sure and I may be mistaken, but I believe accrued vacation and sick leave are essentially like wages owed? I don't think there's any way around paying it. I think. Perhaps it will vary according to state law, and I think our State requires it be paid.
  • Sonny and Jimbo gave excellent advice. If you decide to include such verbiage, although I can't understand why someone would, be sure to check your state laws concerning payment of "accrued" time.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 01-04-05 AT 03:51PM (CST)[/font][br][br]I may be mistaken, but I believe that the only way we can withhold an accrued benefit (i.e. "earned") in the state of Missouri is in cases of gross misconduct. So to justify the only exception to the rule, I'd like to make our intentions explicit. But there has been some discussion recently of "property rights," like the courts are looking at accrued paid time off as property.

    The bosses pay out accrued vacation in the spirit of a reward for good behavior, and someone terminated for gross misconduct doesn't deserve the benefit or reward for being a good employee. At least, that was the explanation given to me.

    But you've all got me to thinking that maybe we just want to pay it out and get finished with whatever employee we may term for this reason.

  • How about 'terminated for cause' or 'quit without appropriate notice'.

    **When we do for others what they should do for themselves, we disempower them.**
  • Abby, you might check with your state DOL office. Vacation is not even required by federal law, so it depends on what MO does.

    Don's wording is good - in my non-profit former life, we did not pay vacation if employees did not give the required notice (two weeks for non-exempt, four weeks for exempt). Helped us get some unrestricted funds . . . x:D
  • HR Calico, in Montana that wouldn't pack it if you have a written policy that says you pay for vacation and sick time upon leaving employment. Years ago and employee quit without 2 weeks notice (required in our policy) and I knew i would lose but I tried to withhold her accrued vacation and sick leave. At her UI hearing (which she lost) I was ordered to pay her for her accrued sick and vacation time. So now, I hope the wording threatens people but it really has no teeth.

    Don, I really like your saying. Ran it off and posted it on my wall.
  • Does your company put a limit on the amount of accrued time off and employee can carry? Most employees use it up long before reaching the maximum allowed. You may not have many employees who separate due to gross misconduct. It may be just as well to go ahead and pay them when they're terminated. Consider the cost of paying them vs a later battle for it. Just a thought.
  • And don't forget that if you are an Employment At-Will State, you don't need to give two weeks notice! Therefore, you need to take into account as you develop your policy.
  • We do put a maximum on how much they can accrue, and we do have several employees who are "maintaining" at the maximum amount. I doubt any of these will be termed for gross misconduct, so we'd owe them all of the accrued leave anyway. That is, for the vacation-type leave. We're still in the dark ages when it comes to differentiating between sick and vacation leave. We do not pay accrued sick leave upon any form of separation. Does this open a whole new can o' worms?

    I know I'm going to get another recommendation to contact my State DoL. I've tried to do this on another occasion, by phone first and got the run around, and then by email and got an answer five weeks later, after we'd resolved the issue using our attorney. Any suggestions on how to get to the one person that could answer this type of question?

  • Abby, I've had great luck getting straight answers from the NE DOL Wage and Hour people. Here's what the web site says. Interestingly, they all list the same phone number - must be national now. I thought I was able to call the Omaha office directly, so I'm not sure what has changed since I last called them. Maybe the national people can be of more assistance? Or, the blue government pages in your phone book might have more info (if you know where to look - it's confusing!) . . .


    Eastern Half:
    St. Louis District Office
    US Dept. of Labor
    ESA Wage & Hour Division
    1222 Spruce Street
    Room 9.102B
    St. Louis, MO 63103-2830
    Phone: 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    Enrique Rodriquez Acting District Director

    Western Half: See Kansas City, KS
    Kansas City District Office
    US Dept. of Labor
    ESA Wage & Hour Division
    Gateway Tower II
    400 State Avenue
    Suite 1010
    Kansas City, KS 66101-2414
    Phone: 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    Karen Chaikin District Director
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