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Undercover Manager Activities

Chapter 9: Disciplining Employees and Ending Their Employement 

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9.1 Policy Search-and-Apply

Undercover Manager 

Activity 9.1 

Policy Search-and-Apply

In Chapter 9 (Disciplining Employees and Ending Their Employment), we describe several disciplinary “gray areas”: substance use, cyberactivity, and employee activism. Many organizations – and managers – are unprepared for these gray areas so they are caught on the back foot when an employee engages in a problematic behavior. In this activity, you will  “stress test” your organization’s disciplinary policies and procedures.

Here's a “what if” scenario, loosely based on the news articles below: What if you learned that one of your employees had created a popular vlog series on TikTok that documented her experiences within your company? The vlog is cheeky and irreverent and it doesn’t always present your company (or its employees) in the most favorable light.

First, search your company policies to see which ones – if any – could apply to the situation. Your search process is just as important as the policies you locate! Many companies do not have a policy that specifically addresses cyberactivity. And a policy that is buried in a company’s documentation, or that requires multiple inquiries to locate, is unlikely to meet the basic principles of the Hot Stove Rule.

Then, develop a cyberactivity management strategy for your company based on Chapter 9’s recommendations: know the law, consult (or develop) the policy, communicate the policy, explain the logic, and read the room. You will need to clearly articulate what constitutes disciplinable behavior: Is the vlog only a problem if the employee produces it during work hours? Is it only a problem if the company is portrayed negatively? Does the company want to ban all employee usage of social media (and does that mean the company won’t recruit using social media)? An effective cyberactivity policy should be specific (with examples of the problematic behavior) but flexible (written to apply across social media platforms).


TikTok discipline:

Collins, T. (2022, July 15). 'TikTok got me fired.' Here's what you should ponder before hitting send. USA Today.  

Sato, M. (2022, October 14). Big Tech employees are TikToking on the job — and their bosses don’t always like it. The Verge.  

Schiffer, Z. (2022, August 16). Apple is allegedly threatening to fire an employee over a viral TikTok video. The Verge.  

Tippett, E. (2020, December 7). From dancing cops to rebel nurses, people keep posting on TikTok at work. Fast Company.

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