POSTED: October 22 2019
Inappropriate behaviour at work costs jobs

Inappropriate behaviour at work costs jobs

Promoting a mature and professional workplace should be one of your biggest priorities as an employer. But new research from suggests that inappropriate behaviour is common in the workplace.

Indeed, the study of 300 UK employers by the CV-Library reveals that a shocking 44.9% of UK businesses have experienced inappropriate behaviour from their employees in the workplace. Worse still, 40.7% have had to fire someone as a result.

When asked what they believe is the most inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, employers cited the following:

  1. Being physically aggressive and/or confrontational – 80.9%
  2. Turning up to work drunk – 73.5%
  3. Using illegal substances – 67.2%
  4. Sending inappropriate emails – 20.6%
  5. Getting angry with colleagues – 20.6%
  6. Flirting with clients/customers – 7.8%
  7. Turning up hungover – 5.4%
  8. Complaining about workload – 4.4%
  9. Flirting with colleagues – 3.9%
  10. Taking personal calls – 2.9%

Alongside this, 96.1% of employers believe these are sackable offences. That said, not all businesses have bitten the bullet and fired staff for being inappropriate. The study found that 35.2% of bosses have given a verbal warning to a member of staff, 8.8% had to suspend someone and 4.4% chose to ignore it.

Below, we explain how this inappropriate behaviour can be fatal for your business.

Being physically aggressive or confrontational

Having a hot-headed employee can be very damaging for morale. If an employee is constantly stomping around the office, barking orders and confronting their colleagues, you need to nip this in the bud sooner rather than later.

Your company culture will only suffer if you sweep this under the rug. If your employees can’t keep their cool and, worse still, are physically confrontational, you need to address this immediately before it gets out of hand.

Turning up to work intoxicated

It is completely unacceptable for an employee to turn up to work under the influence; particularly if they deal with machinery or look after others as part of their job. If in doubt, check the company’s policy with HR and act in line.

More often than not, this inappropriate behaviour will end in termination after a gross negligence of your company rules.

Sending inappropriate emails

While it may be more difficult to track, it’s no surprise that one in five (20.6%) employers agree that sending scandalous emails is inappropriate.

It’s great if your staff are friendly with one another; but this doesn’t mean they can send rude, derogatory and inappropriate emails to fellow members of staff. After all, it can tarnish your reputation and may cause offence to other members of the team.

Getting angry with colleagues

While we can all get riled up every now and again, this should never be a common occurrence. Plus, you should always urge your team members to be professional.

Try to instil a bit of patience into your employees; especially if they’re dealing with new starters who may have a lot of questions to begin with. The last thing you want is for an employee to lose their cool with someone who’s only a week into their role!

Flirting with clients and customers

Our data found that 7.8% of employers feel this is inappropriate behaviour for the workplace; and they’re not wrong. After all, you don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable or, worse still, to raise a sexual harassment case.

While charming customers is acceptable, flirting isn’t. Teach your employees the difference and ensure they always remain professional when working with clients.

Turning up hungover

While nowhere near as bad as turning up drunk, 5.4% agreed that this is still frowned upon. If an employee comes in and isn’t fit to work because they’re hungover then this is a breach of contract.

The best practice here would be to send them home and then consult a representative from HR to find out more about your company’s alcohol consumption policy!

Complaining about workload

It’s not exactly smart of your employees to complain about work all day long. If they aren’t enjoying their job, whether that’s because they’ve got too much (or too little) on, or are stressed out, it’s important to remind them that they can talk to you.

After all, it’s better that they avoid airing their complaints to the rest of your workforce. Plus, nobody likes a colleague who moans all the time. So be sure to address this inappropriate behaviour sooner rather than later.

Flirting with colleagues

While you should definitely encourage friendly conversation in the workplace, you should air on the side of caution when it comes to flirting.

Any unwanted advances could result in a sexual harassment case and it’s also extremely unprofessional. So, nip this inappropriate behaviour in the bud as soon as possible.

Taking personal calls

The workplace is a professional setting, and while you may offer flexibility and a more relaxed environment, this doesn’t mean you should let your employees take advantage. Some activity should be left to a workers’ own time, such as personal calls or emails.

Your employees should know better than having a chat with their pals whilst they’re meant to be working. If in doubt, set a clear policy in your workplace so your teams understand the rules.

Educate your employees on this inappropriate behaviour

If you’re allowing employees to get away with this inappropriate behaviour, without any repercussions, then you can’t expect it to stop any time soon.

Educate your employees on what is deemed as inappropriate at work to avoid any grey areas. Their induction is the perfect time for this. Go over the rules of the role and what’s expected of them during their tenure with your company.

While some actions shouldn’t need explaining, others need to be communicated to your staff. After all, in a time of low unemployment and skills shortages, your company can’t afford to lose its professional reputation!

If you need help advo hr can help. Just email on



This article is based on a CV Library Press release. You can see the press release in full here.