..she gets over friendly with customers…what can we do?


We have a member of staff who outside of work gets too friendly with customers either in person or on facebook. Outside of work however she drinks a lot and tends to make a fool of herself. I am worried this can contaminate the business relationship with clients, and wondered if we can restrict this activity outside of work?

The issue here is really whether your employee is likely to bring the company into disrepute with your customers through actions in her private life. That is where her inappropriate conduct outside the workplace becomes associated with you as her her employer, and where it might impact on your company by discouraging your customers in doing business with you because of this employee’s out-of-work activities.

Ideally you should have in your contract of employment a statement to the effect that behaviour outwith work which might bring the employer into disrepute could be subject to disciplinary action and potential dismissal.

However even if you don’t have such a statement, you can still arrange to speak to your employee and outline your concerns to her. You should follow this up in writing to her explaining your concerns and outlining why if she continues with this behaviour it would lead you to lose confidence in her and precipitate the necessity to investigate her behaviour under your disciplinary procedures. You should leave her in no doubt that continuing this behaviour could ultimately lead to her dismissal.

If she then continues to act in this way, you should properly investigate her behaviour using your disciplinary procedure, and issue her with warnings as appropriate. If she then perseveres with this behaviour, you can ultimately fairly dismiss her.


(Article reviewed January 2018)

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