HR:ER Round-Up: OnlyFans in the Workplace, Tackling ‘Sickies’, and More
5 Minute Read
5 Minute Read

We’re back with another HR:ER podcast round-up! We’ve got even more bizarre and real-life HR disasters for HR professionals and business owners like yourself to learn from and save your business from its own emergency.

Our latest HR stories are:

  1. OnlyFans in the Workplace? Are “Side Hustles” a Problem

  2. Is It Acceptable To Pull a ‘Sicky’ To Go on Holiday?

  3. Can Employees Really Work From Anywhere? The Rise of Digital Nomads

Let’s not waste anymore time and get into it!

OnlyFans in the Workplace? Are “Side Hustles” a Problem

The HR Emergency:

Ben brought his infected work computer to the office, requesting IT assistance after failing to resolve the issue privately due to access restrictions. However, he confessed that the computer contained evidence of accessing inappropriate material.

Upon investigation, IT discovered not only the inappropriate content but also that Ben had been viewing the OnlyFans page of a colleague who reports to him. The sender of the email expressed disbelief at Ben’s actions and indicated that Ben inquired about the company’s response to the colleague’s OnlyFans page.

We Diagnose:

  • How should HR handle an employee’s side hustle conflicting with company values?
  • What defines inappropriate content? Is there gender bias in the workplace?
  • How can HR ensure work time isn’t used for side activities and what are the consequences?
  • What legal risks does inappropriate material pose to company property?

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

Review your IT and security systems – Ben shouldn’t have been able to view inappropriate content in the first place. Even with limited IT resources, establish clear policies regarding acceptable internet usage during work hours to safeguard your employees.

Ensure your monitoring policies are current to allow for investigation if suspicions arise regarding employee conduct on work devices. Clearly outline guidelines regarding secondary employment in your policies; some roles may not be impacted, while others could compromise employee well-being or job performance.

Exercise fairness and open-mindedness regarding employees’ side hustles. Avoid immediate judgment based on terms like “OnlyFans” or “influencers”; such activities may not necessarily harm the company’s reputation and could constitute legitimate work.

Is It Acceptable To Pull a ‘Sicky’ To Go on Holiday?

The HR Emergency:

Porsche, came into the office excitedly announcing her £10,000 scratch card win. She immediately booked a family holiday with the winnings, despite not having requested time off. When reminded to request leave, she did so, only to find all relevant dates already approved.

Company policy, which she acknowledged upon joining, requires prior approval for holidays due to minimum staffing regulations. When informed the leave couldn’t be granted, she said ‘it’s fine, I’ll just pull a sickie and go anyway, and there is nothing you can do about it’.

We Diagnose:

  • How does HR respond to an employee threatening sick leave after being denied time off?
  • What are the disciplinary actions for unauthorised leave?
  • How do you prove sick leave abuse?
  • What are some preventative HR policies against future incidents?

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

Establishing comprehensive policies – regarding sick leave and holidays is essential for both employers and employees. Clear guidelines help employers anticipate employee absences and allocate resources accordingly. Additionally, employees should be required to provide a sick note if they are off work due to illness for a week or longer.

In cases where employee behavior raises concerns about the legitimacy of sick leave, additional measures such as involving Occupational Health professionals for a professional assessment should be used. However, it’s crucial to approach these situations with sensitivity and without undermining the employee’s condition. Engage in open dialogue with the employee to understand their circumstances fully; there may be underlying issues like burnout that require further support.

Can Employees Really Work From Anywhere? The Rise of Digital Nomads

HR Emergency:

On a weekly standup call, it was noticed Ava was not at her usual desk. Her manager could see mountains behind her and it was discovered she and her boyfriend had decided to relocate for 6 months to Finland to work from there for the duration of the ski season.

Her employer doesn’t have an issue with the times she is working, she is productive and isn’t customer-facing. But their concern is, can they legally pay her in Finland or even continue to employ her?

We Diagnose:

  • What are some employer considerations for an employee’s unexpected move abroad?
  • What is the impact on team dynamics and client relations?
  • Is there any violation of contractual obligations by an employee?
  • What are employer policies on remote work and international employment?

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

When an employee unexpectedly relocates abroad, establish an employer of record to ensure compliance and the right remote setup for your company. Asking questions regarding visa status, health insurance, and remote work location is imperative, as it mitigates security risks. Logging in from another country without using a secure property VPN can leave your company vulnerable to data breaches and hefty fines.

From a policy standpoint, ensure your remote work policy addresses the possibility of employees working from abroad. Specify the notice period required for such arrangements and outline operational procedures. While it might seem unlikely for an employee to suddenly relocate for work, it’s a scenario that occurs frequently, as noted by Elissa. Without a comprehensive policy in place, your options for response may be limited!

Are You Ready To Make Your Workplace Disaster-Free?

As we wrap up this HR:ER round-up, by learning from these shocking everyday scenarios and life-saving measures, HRs and business owners can navigate challenging situations with confidence and resilience.

If you’re already a fan of the episode, please leave us a review here. And if you have your own emergency, email us or reach out to us and we’ll dissect it for you. Subscribe below!