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Sleeping at work : Is it a misconduct?
Human Resources » Heath, Safety & Well Being

Chrm Message From: prabjyot_pahwa Total Posts: 5 Join Date: 05/03/2013
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 06/08/2013 23:17:43 Points: 25 Location: India

 Dear professionals, 

Sleeping at workplace is often treated as misconduct. But can we try to understand the reasons for such a behavior - whether is work related; supervision related; hygiene related etc. In which case, what is the intervention and what shall be the remedy?
I would like to invite one and all to share your experiences on such a case, if experienced and how were you able to resolve.


Chrm Message From: hansyoga Total Posts: 2 Join Date: 05/03/2013  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 02/02/2014 01:15:27 Points: 20 Location: India

It is not desirable but whether it constitutes a misconduct, is entirely situational.

Habitual sleeping is certainly a misconduct, but if one has been sleep-starved due to work or personal emergency and is found napping, but is otherwise a sincere, committed employee, it should be forgiven. If they have been generally good employees, they can be sent to the sick room - not to distract others, allowed an hour's rest, and then they can come back to catch up with their work.

Like there is absenteeism, there can be presenteeism too : employees physically present but  very disengaged, when they are as bad as sleeping, in fact worse if they are 'actively disengaged' , when they spread disengagement !

What an employee is doing at any given moment, should always be judged in the background of their past performance and average conduct, rather than assessed from the immediate evidence only.  Many MD's have a couch in their office, to relax when they are too stressed ;  at human level, is a junior employee any different ?


Hans Dholakia

Motivational Speaker,Life Coach & Corp. Trainer

Chrm Message From: narayancs Total Posts: 1 Join Date: 05/03/2013  
Rank: Beginner Post Date: 07/04/2014 06:49:17 Points: 5 Location: India

Sleeping at workplace could be due to many reasons;

a. Sleep deprivation

b. Sleep Disorder

c. Habitual

d. Disengaged / disinterested / lack of motivation

e. Lack of work / assignment

One needs to understand the reasons behind the behavior.  An employee could be very sincere,  committed and very hard working but could be suffering from Sleep deprivation due to some disturbances at home, over work, travel etc OR the employee could be even suffering from a Sleep Disorder - a medical condition - Related to Sleep Apnea -  many who are suffering from this disorder may not even know that they have a sleep disorder.  People who suffer from this disorder (medical condition), often fall asleep without their knowledge while attending a meeting or at workstation.  Most dangerous is that they may fall asleep while driving, working on a machine etc.  Such people need urgent medical attention and help.

A lot of study and research is being conducted on the sleep disorders - a medical condition.

Hence, while dealing with employees sleeping at workplace, one should be aware of the situations and conditions and take appropriate actions.


Chrm Message From: paladin Total Posts: 31 Join Date: 05/03/2013  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/04/2014 00:12:11 Points: 155 Location: India

Sleeping ar work is misconduct.  There is no excuse for such action on the part of an employee, especially where s/he has the option to report off. 

In the first instance, sleeping on the job is stealing.  The employee is being paid to be productiove and thereby contributing to the success of the organization.  In short, s/he is taking the employer's money for service NOT rendered/  In any society that is theft. In an industrial society, that is sufficient grounds for dismiossal.  Imagine the conseqyences if such conduct is ignored - everyone would feel empowered to do the same.

Secondly, it creates a serious health and safety scenario, not only for the involved employee but co-workers who depend on the vigilance of each other to assure an safe and healthy workplace. While the individual is asleep an unforeseen incident may occur which could be easlily rectified by the sleeping employee. Instead, he and perhaps some co-workers, could perish.

Thirdly, the employee's work is not being completed, placing an additional burden on co-workers, who may be overworked and tired due to personnel cutbacks.

As a Human Resource consultant in heavy industry - aerospace, aluminum, paper, and steel - I have first hand knowledge and experience with the consequences of employees who sleep on the job.

Chrm Message From: paladin Total Posts: 31 Join Date: 05/03/2013  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 13/04/2014 03:25:55 Points: 155 Location: India

I believe that sleeping on the job is misconduct.  In fact. it is Gross Misconduct subjecting the employee to termination.

Firstly. sleeping on the job is, in fact, theft, and there is no excuse for theft.  It is a deliberate, conscious act.  An employee has an obligation to his/her employer to provide a service for a wage. If the service is not provided and the employee collects the wage, it is a breach of the imploied employment contract. Such a breach impacts the productivity, efficiency and viability of the organization, as well as the job security of co-workers, and, perhaps, vendors and local merchants.

Secondly, failure to address the conduct is merely condoning the unacceptable  behavior, opening the gates to future occurrances by the same or other employees, truly establishing a slippery slope.  The end result is the same - a loss of productivity resulting in the demise of thje organization.

Finally, there is no reasonable excuse for coming to work fatigued and exposing co-workers to a potential safety hazard which could result in physical injury or death.

As a Human Resource consultant in heavy industry - aerospace, aluminum, paper and steel - I have first hand experience and knowledge of the consequences of such irresponsible conduct.

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