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How to Deal With Unacceptable Employee Behavior: 11 Tips


The good understanding between employer and employees is important for an organization to grow. Employees are an important part of the organization but when these employees do unacceptable behavior it becomes the problematic situation. There are various situations which causes due to unacceptable behavior of employees and it is important for an employer to deal with these problems accordingly and effectively.

Unacceptable Employee Behavior

Some employee feels it hard to accept and follow company norms and do behave in a certain way which causes problems for an employer to deal, but you can’t just fire them because they are not following company norms. So how to deal with unacceptable employee behaviour?

In this article, we are going to learn how to deal with unacceptable employee behaviour without affecting company image and reputation. Read this article further to know more.

What is Unacceptable Behavior?

There are certain behaviours which employees can’t do, according to company policies they are unacceptable behaviour. These unacceptable behaviours are mentioned in the company’s policies manually for employees to know.

These behaviours can land employees into serious trouble as well in extreme cases make them get fired from the company.

Some of the unacceptable behaviours are as follows:

1. Bullying:

Good employees work together as a team to reach the goal and work hard but some employees do not believe in hard work and bully others to do their work or not do it at all. Bullying in the office of any kind is unacceptable behaviour as it affects the working of another employee as well as company reputation gets affected even in some cases. The good employees choose other organization to work rather than get bullied by others.

Good employees work together as a team to reach the goal and work hard but some employees do not believe in hard work and bully others to do their work or not do it at all. Bullying in the office of any kind is unacceptable behaviour as it affects the working of another employee as well as company reputation gets affected even in some cases. The good employees choose other organization to work rather than get bullied by others.

2. Bad manners:

We all know how to behave with others in public places as well as in the office. We all learn about good manners in our schools and college but few of them don’t know the meaning of good manners.

Bad manners in office is considered as unacceptable behaviour, it disturbs working environment as well as create discomfort between other employees. Bad manners by some employees disturb the whole workplace and tempt others to do as well.

3. Harassment:

Harassment is considered as an illegal and punishable offence. Harassing other employees verbally or physically is totally unacceptable behaviour and can land that employee in legal matters as well as tarnish organization image in the marketplace.

Harassment in office by another employee can mentally disturb good hard working employees and can force them to quit the job. Harassment in any way is unethical; illegal as well as punishable no matter who you are. There are laws for workplace harassment, rules made by organizations also work to stop workplace harassment.

4. Being late regularly:

This is something that happens to each employee at least once in their life when they go to the office. We all got late at least once in a while when rushing for the office due to many reasons but, few employees make the tradition of coming late regularly or leaving early.

Coming late for work regularly is unacceptable behaviour as it shows a lack of commitment towards the job, decrease working morals in the organization and tempts others to do the same.

5. Abusive language:

Some of the employees have a tendency of using abusive words in general conversation which goes with them to the office as well. Using abusive words in the workplace is totally unacceptable, it often disturbs other employees as well as disturb the working environment.

Few employees feel uncomfortable when abusive words are used during a conversation, on the other hand, some take serious offence when abusive words used against them.

6. Aggressive:

Anger is one of that emotion most human hardly have control. But showing anger in your workplace is a big no, showing anger can lead employees to trouble. when we talk about the unacceptable behaviour of employees, losing temper over small things count as unacceptable behaviour.

Employees who have anger issues become a threat for other employees as no one knows when they will burst out, even sometimes anger harms their quality of work as well. So, angry behaviour is totally unacceptable.

7. Dressing inappropriately:

Most companies and big organizations give freedom of dress up but it doesn’t mean the employee can wear whatever they seem fit. Not wearing the appropriate dress only means trouble and inappropriate dressing comes as unacceptable behaviour especially if it creates an issue between other employees.

Dressing inappropriately may tempt others to make inappropriate comments which can disturb the environment of the workplace.

8. Disrespectful:

Disrespectful behaviour towards other employees and supervisors is unacceptable. Disrespecting can cause fights and politics in offices as well as cause a decline in work ethics of other employees. The disrespectful behaviour of employees leaves an impact on the company’s reputation as well.

Ways to Deal with Unacceptable Employee Behavior: 

Most employees in organizations know good manners and how to behave in office as well as have great work ethics, but few of them don’t know what acceptable behaviour mean and how to behave properly with other employees and office staff.

Unacceptable behaviour by few of employees causes a big headache for supervisors and managers as they are the one who take most heat from employees as well as higher authorities of the organization. These few employees don’t understand the importance of acceptable behaviour in the workplace and cause discomforts and inconvenience for other employees.

So the question is how to deal with unacceptable behaviour? Dealing with unacceptable behaviour and the employee is not the easiest of the task. It needs lots of patience, compromise, understanding and strictness to deal with unacceptable behaviour. Follow these steps to deal with unacceptable behaviour.

1. Strict rules and regulation:

Making rules and regulations can help in maintaining uniformity into the office. Rules bound employees to behave properly and regulations keep them on the track but strict rules and regulation can scare the good employees and they will feel suffocated in that type of environment.

Try to maintain a balance between rules and happy working environment. Make policies strict about misbehaviour and praise good working and behaviour, that way employees will feel motivated to behave well.

2. A clear message of need and expectation:

Make the message clear during the hiring process about needs and expectation, what you expect from your employees and what are the work ethics in the office. The different organization has different needs and requirements they want employees to fulfill and also have certain ethics to involve in their working.

To avoid later misunderstanding and unacceptable behaviour from your employees, make the message about need and expectation during work hours clear, making the message clear helps you in dealing with unacceptable behaviour.

3. Observing, listing and documentation:

Make a list of employees’ behaviour and their character by observing their attitude and how they converse with other employees, that way you will better know how to deal with the unacceptable behaviour of employees.

Observations also helps you in noticing where you need to make improvements in the work area and what to be included in the rule book. Maintaining what you observe in document and listing can help you when you deal with employees who are lacking on the behavioural front without accusing the wrong employee.

4. Follow-up:

Follow up those employees who make the same mistake again and again as well as those who are making progress. By follow up you can take action against those who are not making any progress as there must be a guideline about those in your company rule book as well as you can give positive feedback to those who are making progress steadily. Praising good work and strict action against misbehaving gives a clear message to other employees as well.

5. Understand:

There are some genuine problems with people who work long hours in the office. When you confront those employees who are behaving in an unacceptable manner like coming late regularly or leaving office before the end of their shift, try to understand why they are doing this.

It happens sometimes that employee started to behave in an unacceptable manner due to their personal problems and need a supportive hand rather than scolding in office. Try and understand as they are also a human being and give time so that they can go back to their old self.

6. Clear company norms:

Employees hardly pay attention to company norms after they got selected for the job which leads to unacceptable behaviour from them. Clear company norms to employees about work ethics and behaviour will help you in dealing with unacceptable behaviour in the workplace as well as you will have more authority over employees to take actions when you make all norms clear.

7. Private conversation:

If you find any employee misbehaving and even after warning they are not making any progress then have a private conversation with those employees. Scolding in public may tempt them to rebel and can hurt their ego, as well as public humiliation, can decrease their self-esteem.

Have a conversation in private and talk about their unacceptable behaviour and warn them about consequences they are going to face in case of ignorance. Private conversation is more successful than public scolding and humiliation, no one want to feel like a child in front of their colleagues.

8. No biased decision:

Don’t take a biased decision on the basis of heard stories and complaint from others. Sometimes supervisors or managers take action without confirming the culprit which leads to a biased decision and also affect work ethics of other employees. Do conform yourself and understand why it is happening as well as keep track of other employees as well.

9. Don’t wait for right time:

The present is the right time to make decisions and take actions. Ignoring unacceptable behaviour makes employees confident about their behaviour and makes other employees question your decision-making skills and judgments. If you have proofs of unacceptable behaviour then take action immediately and set an example for others.

The right time will never come if you are sitting in wait for right time to make an important decision. You are the one, people look after in the workplace to set everything right and your decisions affect more than you think so make a decision on time.

10. Counselling:

Counselling is a better approach than scolding employees. Counselling helps them in improving as well as you need to understand the reason of their behaviour more specifically. Involve your employees in counselling sessions where they talk with experts and share their problems as well as got guideline for workplace behaviour.

Counselling always proves better when you deal with employees who are not behaving as per standard and rules as well as you have a clear picture of the problem which helps in dealing with the situation in a better way.

11. Involve human resource and higher authorities:

Managers and supervisors are the ones who take heat from management as well as from employees. Back up your decisions and action from higher authorities and human resource department. When you have support from top management for your decisions employees listen to you way better than, when you don’t have any backup from authorities.

Rise behavioural issues in public meetings so that all employees can get the message and higher authorities can know about the problem. If higher management knows about the problem, you can ask for better guideline and rules to make sure employees behave in a proper manner.


Dealing with employees who can’t behave properly is a big headache for most managers and supervisors. Most employees know how to work and behave in the workplace but there are some who got the problem in getting the right picture.

There can be various reasons for this kind of behaviour such as cultural differences. The best any manager can do is to try and understand the situation but in some cases, they need to take actions and make decisions so that the company doesn’t suffer the consequences.

We hope this article can help you in dealing with unacceptable employee behaviour.