HR:ER Round-Up: Is Sniffing a Shirt Sexual Harassment, AI Cheating, and More…
5 Minute Read
5 Minute Read

Welcome to our first round-up of the HR:ER podcast! The podcast for business leaders and HRs that shares the juicy details of HR missteps, legal blunders, and workplace fiascos. If you’re already a fan of the episode, please leave us a review here (it helps with the algorithm)!

Our HR crisis stories include both outrageous and real-life scenarios, promising not to disappoint. Our HR crisis stories are:

  1. Is Sniffing a Shirt Sexual Harassment Gone Too Far?

  2. When Does Using AI Become Cheating at Work?

  3. Is Mental Health Ever an Excuse for Violence in the Workplace?

You’re probably thinking what the hell? Even if you don’t work in HR…So, let’s get into it.

Is Sniffing a Shirt Sexual Harassment Gone Too Far?

The HR Emergency:

During a visit to a client’s facilities, Amy, a new staff member and well-known TV celebrity and former model, raised a concern about her team leader, Dave. She reported that Dave had entered the client’s hot tub before it was cleaned and later sniffed a robe, making her feel uncomfortable. Amy requested not to be paired with Dave for future assignments.

We Diagnose:

  • What constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace?
  • How should concerns of sexual harassment be addressed?
  • What preventative measures can employers implement to mitigate such incidents?

Emergency Measures To Stop Your Business From Its Own HR Emergency:

Initially, it is crucial not to overreact and just dismiss Dave. We need to go through proper processes and ensure we are approaching this in a calm and considerate manner. As a priority we need to ensure proper care for the victim in this scenario, Amy. Which could mean offering her the option of raising a formal grievance or referring her to further support.

It is imperative to adhere to proper processes, such as ensuring correct invitation letters and permitting a companion to disciplinary meetings. Thorough execution is vital, as any oversight could provide grounds for the defendant to pursue legal action against your business.

When Does Using AI Become Cheating at Work?

The HR Emergency:

Paul has had issues previously with his performance. Recently, Paul’s line manager observed a change in his behavior, initially for the better—he was completing tasks more quickly and appeared more settled at work. However, concerns arose regarding the quality and accuracy of his work.

Upon review of his computer activity, it was discovered that Paul is using ChatGPT to complete his tasks and spending the remainder of his time watching snooker and playing virtual poker online.

We Diagnose:

  • How can HRs proactively detect and prevent AI-driven cheating in the workplace?
  • What ethical and disciplinary considerations come into play when an employee is caught using AI to cheat?
  • Does an employee’s reliance on AI quickly raise questions about the redundancy of their role?

Emergency Measures To Stop Your Business From Its Own HR Emergency:

A comprehensive AI policy. It should explicitly outline guidelines for employee usage, specify what data is prohibited, and be made known to the business. A policy is only good if employees know about it! Neglecting such guidelines could cause issues with quality, productivity, and most importantly data security – as once you put your intellectual property into ChatGPT, you’re releasing it onto the internet for anyone to use.

Is Mental Health Ever an Excuse for Violence in the Workplace?

The HR Emergency:

James, assigned to shelf stacking, reportedly refused to assist a customer reaching for an item on a high shelf. Despite attempts to communicate, James ignored both the customer and his line manager, continuing his tasks with hostility. When the manager approached, James physically assaulted him and verbally abused the customer before leaving the shop floor.

James, citing his ADHD, claims he’s not responsible for his actions under imperfect work conditions and believes he should be left alone to work without interference.

We Diagnose:

  • How can HRs effectively manage workplace violence intertwined with mental health issues?
  • Where is the line drawn between accommodating mental health and ensuring workplace safety?
  • What protocols and resources should be in place to address workplace violence and mental health crises?

How To Stop Your Business From Its Own HR Emergency:

It’s wrong to make assumptions about a condition and how it affects an employee as an employer unless you’re a qualified doctor. One way to cite a condition you don’t have an understanding of is through a thorough medical investigation. You can do this by contacting occupational health and asking for an assessment or contacting their GP and asking for a doctor’s report or their medical history.

Are You Ready To Make Your Workplace Disaster-Free?

In this round-up of the HR:ER podcast, we’ve covered topics from crisis management to legal challenges and mental health support. Through real-life scenarios and expert advice, HRs and business owners can navigate challenging situations with confidence and compassion.

Subscribe to HR:ER on your favourite podcast platform for ongoing discussions and life-saving tips on managing HR emergencies effectively. Have your own emergency? We’d love to treat it for you for free (and anonymously), email us or reach out to us on our website.