Ask HR: Can We Tell Employees How to Behave at Non-Work Events?

August 23, 2016

CPA Care partnership

Whether you’re commenting on Twitter or posting images on Facebook, it’s important that you’re mindful of your behavior and how your words could affect others. Though you’re off the clock, your co-workers could be impacted by certain behavior which could translate into uncertainty or discomfort in the office. How can your organization prevent this potential issue?

You don’t have to stop being social. Let the expert professionals at HR Support Center help guide you through this delicate situation.


Can we tell employees how they have to behave at non-work events? We’re trying to prevent harassment from occurring outside the office.

Answer from the HR Pros:

While employers have the right to regulate employees’ on-duty conduct, they are more limited in how much control they can exert when employees are not on duty.

We know issues may arise when employees engage in social activities after hours where they feel they can let loose or otherwise act in a way that is inconsistent with company policy. While an employer can’t regulate what goes on in that setting—in fact, many states protect legal off-duty conduct—you can expect and require that there not be any residual effects that carry over into the workplace. For instance, if an employee made threatening comments about a certain religious group on their Facebook page, and these comments were seen by another employee who then felt fear in the workplace, you would need to address this behavior.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that there is a higher legal standard for the behavior of supervisors. Employers will always be responsible for harassment by a supervisor that results in a tangible employment action like demotion, termination, or constructive discharge—even if the harassment originated outside the workplace. And even if the harassment from a supervisor doesn’t lead to a tangible employment action, the employer is liable unless it proves that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct the harassment and that the employee “unreasonably” failed to complain to management.

Your best defense is a clear sexual and unlawful harassment policy along with well-trained managers. This should help limit problematic behavior outside of the workplace, as well as assist your managers and supervisors in dealing with these issues if they begin in, or seep into, the workplace.

This content came from a team of HR professionals at HR Support Center. Businesses like yours can pay a yearly fee for HR Support Center and receive awesome subscription perks like these:

  • Legal advice
  • Employee handbook help (creating a new one or updating an existing one)
  • Custom HR forms, letters, tools, and other documents
  • Tons of Q&A
  • News on government activity that could affect you
  • Training on common HR activities like hiring
  • Thought leadership articles

The list goes on. HR Support Center is not only feature rich, it’s inexpensive: one entire year of HR Support Center is cheaper than one hour of a typical attorney’s time. Contact us today to sign up.

subscribe to Paycor's Resource Center

Subscribe to Our Resource Center Digest

Enter your email below to receive a weekly recap of the latest articles from Paycor’s Resource Center.

Check your inbox for an email confirming your subscription. Enjoy!

Previous Article
Transitioning Employees from Exempt to Non-Exempt Status
Transitioning Employees from Exempt to Non-Exempt Status

In exactly three months, the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules will go into effect and impact nearly...

Next Article
5 Fundamentals of FCRA Compliant Background Checks
5 Fundamentals of FCRA Compliant Background Checks

Background Checks and Employment Screening – Building a Compliant Process to Mitigate Risk For those involv...



Subscribe to our weekly Resource Center Digest

Thank you! You're Now Subscribed!
Error - something went wrong!