Q. Can an employee be dismissed if found doing his personal work during his working hours?
Ans. No employer, as a rule, ever expects, much less approves any of his employees doing any sort of personal and private work during the hours of his duty. This also precludes his activities concerning his union. In one instance an employer expressed his view that wasting and avoiding to perform his allotted duties and instead involving himself and his time in his personal and private work on the premises of the undertaking, should be listed separately as a misconduct as per standing orders in force. The Industrial Court, Bombay, took the view that it was obvious that a worker was not supposed to do any personal or private work on the premises of the mill during the working hours. If he does so, it will amount to a misconduct arising from an act being subversive of discipline. To prevent any such difficulty from arising, rules could be made or instructions could be issued so as to prohibit any personal or private work being done by any operative during the working hour so as to ensure smooth and orderly maintenance of working of the undertaking. Habitual breach of any such rules or instructions, will be regarded as a serious misconduct and the employer can take action against such erring employees.1
1. Textile Mills, Baroda v. Their Workmen, 1952 (II) LLJ 225 (IC Bom).