The word 'NO' has a fascinating origin, dating back to Middle English. It's a concise word, comprising two parts. The first part originates from a root meaning 'not,' and the second part indicates 'life' or 'forever.' So, when we say 'no,' we're essentially saying 'not ever.
This truly explains the essence of a zero tolerance policy. Some things just cannot be tolerated, not ever.
Addressing Misconduct At Work
Organisations function on policies that keep their foundations intact. Misconduct that breaches these policies can result in significant consequences for those within the company.
A Zero Tolerance Policy helps in eliminating undesirable employee behaviour and states clear punishment for those who violate company rules. Of course, everyone has a certain code of conduct for every single place. While not arriving on time or missing attendance may not cause you much harm, it is the major misconducts that can truly land you in trouble.
Zero Tolerance Of Harassment
Every individual has the right to be treated with integrity, regardless of any factor. When this integrity is taken for granted, that's when the concept of zero tolerance comes into play. It reaches its peak when harassment becomes a concern.
A well-structured POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment) policy aims to establish a secure work environment for everyone. Anyone committing a severe offence, such as harassment, will face immediate termination in accordance with the zero tolerance policy.
However, it's essential to consider situational factors. While it may seem that every violation falling under zero tolerance warrants immediate termination, this policy often allows for "first-level" warnings.
For instance, let's differentiate between sexual harassment and unintentional verbal abuse. Sometimes, a person might say something offensive without intending to do so. In such cases, issuing a first-level warning may be more effective and fair than immediate termination.
Nevertheless, it's crucial not to confuse unintentional verbal discrimination with Moral Harassment, which, under the labour code, mandates employers to initiate procedures that protect employees against moral harassment.
Zero Tolerance Of Bullying
Another classic case of Zero Tolerance is when bullying becomes a concern. Any act that disrespects or disregards a person based on their identity, gender, ethnicity, or any other personal criteria is considered a violation of workplace morals and ethics.
Did you know that more than half of Indian employees are bullied at their workplace. A Zero Tolerance Policy serves to draw a line against these alarming statistics.
Is There More To It?
Moonlighting often refers to working more than one job, in addition to your primary role. This concept has gained major popularity amongst the Gen Z and Millennials as they look forward to freelancing on multiple projects. While some companies consider moonlighting as a breach to their values and policies, there are also many other companies who openly support it, making it a highly situational matter in relation to zero tolerance.
You may often encounter companies that include plagiarism in their zero-tolerance policy, which can result in immediate termination. Plagiarism and piracy are generally regarded as violations of data confidentiality and are thus not tolerated by many companies.
When Discretion Enters The Room
One of the key things to keep in mind for everyone within an organisation is that Zero Tolerance forbids anyone in a position of authority from changing, altering, or avoiding punishment to favour someone. It's a concerning yet somewhat amusing statistic that, even now, 75% of employees are a victim of favouritism at work.
This may sound harmless in the beginning however when this favouritism shows up in cases of zero tolerance, not only it becomes problematic for others but can also be unfair to the ones who have faced severe situations because of those who are being defended.
Adaptation Of Zero Tolerance Among Generations
In 1964, through the Civil Rights Act, discrimination against employees based on factors like "race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin" was prohibited in the workplace. Surprisingly, a study in 2022 by the International Labour Organisation revealed that more than one in five people still experience some form of harassment at work.
Now, 59 years later, the question remains: Are people still hesitant to report cases that might result in the immediate termination of another employee?
The answer is yes.
In a recent Ethical Culture Report survey, employees were asked, “Did you report misconduct when you witnessed it?” Generation Z gave the lowest affirmative response at 43%, in contrast to Generation X at 53%.
This hesitancy stems from the younger generation's lack of trust in the authorities they work with. Indeed, the report goes on to highlight that the younger the generation, the less confidence they have in their employers' anti-retaliation policies and procedures.
The Responsibility Lies With You
Clear Communication Is Key: Start by clearly defining what behaviours are unacceptable in the workplace. Make sure every employee knows what constitutes a breach of the policy. Use simple, straightforward language in your policy documents and communications.
Educate And Train: Sometimes, the biggest setback can be the employees lack of awareness. To avoid this, ensure that all employees are well-informed about the policy. Conduct regular training sessions to educate them about what behaviours are not tolerated and what consequences may follow.
Anonymous Reporting: Implement a confidential and anonymous reporting system for employees to report violations, if you haven't already. This encourages open communication and helps people feel safe when reporting incidents.
Investigate Thoroughly: When a report is made, take it seriously. Conduct a thorough and fair investigation. Ensure that the process is transparent, and employees feel heard.
Consistent Enforcement: Apply the policy consistently across all levels of the organisation. No one should be exempt from the consequences of their actions.
Zero Retaliation: Make it clear that retaliation against individuals who report violations will not be tolerated. Create a safe environment for whistleblowers.
Above all, let this sink in: zero tolerance is not just a policy; it is a reflection of your intent and morale as an individual. While policies are necessary and implementation is vital, we must pause and ask ourselves a profound question: Can we individually commit to upholding our core principles?
Psst! This blog was made with💚 and created after some thought by a real person.#NoGenerativeAI