Words by: Michelle Bolger, Employment Law Consultant at ESA Consultants
First, imagine this scenario: a member of your team – let’s call her Sarah- goes out one night. She then posts a photo on Facebook at 1:00 AM in a Club with friends taking shots. Sarah texts in sick the next day. Ever ran into these sorts of salon staff issues and not known what to do about them?
The question is, what can you do (legally that is)?
In Ireland and in the UK, it is commonly understood that if you put something up on Facebook allowing the public to see it, then you have ‘published it’ and it is available for public consumption. In other words – Sarah posted it so she has accepted that anyone can see it. Unfortunately for Sarah, this includes you/her employer and you have a right to discuss this with her.
Salon Staff Issues: Most Common Options
What you have to decide next is what you want to do with this information. The most common options are:
- When Sarah next comes to work, call her into a private but informal meeting.
> Tell her how disappointed you are with her behaviour as it shows a lack of respect for the entire team, her clients and you.
> Explain the effect her decisions had i.e. annoyed clients, loss of revenue for the salon and putting her colleagues under pressure. However, you just want to warn her this time that if anything like this happens again that you will start the disciplinary process.
- When Sarah next comes to work, call her into a private meeting and ask her about the particular salon staff issue.
> If her answers don’t satisfy you tell her that it is not acceptable and that you will be asking her to attend a disciplinary hearing.
The benefit of having a meeting first is to allow you to get a good assessment of the situation.
What if Sarah tells you that she had been to the Doctor and had a sick note to cover her? What if she tells you that she had just found out that a member of her family had been diagnosed as terminally ill and she took liberties she would not normally take as she just didn’t know how to react?
The meeting is your opportunity to get a full picture based on the Facebook post – use it to your advantage. No one has the time to waste on unnecessary disciplinaries.
Moving Forward With Actions
If you are not sure how you want to move this forward then answer these questions:
> Do you have a contract of employment and employee handbook for this employee?
> Does either the contract or handbook set out your disciplinary procedures?
If you answered ‘no’ to either or both of these questions, then you will have to go with the informal option for now.
By law, both a contract and a disciplinary policy are required. If you haven’t provided these to the employee, then any action would be seen as unfair and could expose you to a claim if you get it wrong.
What works for one employer won’t necessarily work for you, so it’s important that you be honest with yourself. Whatever you do with this one employee on your salon staff team, you have to be prepared to do with any other employee who acts in the same way.
I.E. This means that if Sarah is one of your best stylists and is really a great employee then you can’t treat her differently to Ann who gets on your nerves a little, is dithery and whom you wouldn’t shed a tear over if she told you she was leaving tomorrow.
There is only one sure thing you have to do and that is to discuss it with the employee. If you don’t address salon staff issues you are allowing a negative behaviour to go unchecked and it will happen again.
Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this first salon staff issues HR guest post, then you will be happy to hear this will be an ongoing series! In the meantime, you might enjoy our article on managing the most difficult employees within a team.
Thanks for reading!
Don’t miss out on Michelle Bolger’s next Human Resources article and if you have any questions in the meanwhile, you can reach her at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or drop us your suggestion as to what the next post should be about!
ESA Consultants | Website: www.esa.ie