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Out-of-hours conduct

Last updated February 2019

This chapter explains when and how you can manage an employee’s out-of-hours conduct, including disciplining or dismissing them.

Can you manage an employee’s conduct outside work?

Your capacity to manage an employee’s out-of-hours conduct depends on whether you can establish that the conduct relates to a duty they owe to you as their employer.

The following duties establish a relationship where you can manage your employees’ conduct outside work:

  • maintaining your confidences, e.g. you can require an employee to maintain confidences relating to your business (such as intellectual property or campaign strategies) both during and outside work;
  • faithfully serving your interests, e.g. your employee cannot work for your competitor on days when they are not working for you; and
  • doing nothing that might unjustifiably damage the relationship of trust and confidence necessary for you to employ them, e.g. your employee cannot make a derogatory remark about you or your business online.
Caution: To discipline or dismiss an employee for out-ofhours conduct, the conduct must be connected with their employment in a clear and relevant way, and have caused damage (or a risk of damage) to your business.