Can you sack an Employee over Pokemon Go?

Can you sack an Employee over Pokemon Go?


IT has fired up gamers all over Malaysia. But now, Pokémon Go has led to some being fired.

The game has proven to be a huge hit here, but it is game over for some who persistently played it during working hours.

Six employers have dismissed workers for playing the popular location-based game while at work, reveals a survey by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan says the poll on the impact of the game on workers was taken among 150 employers in various sectors.

“Based on our preliminary findings, six employers, or 4% of the 150 companies, admitted that workers who indulged too much in the game have been dismissed,” he tells Sunday Star.

Other actions taken by employers included advising employees against playing the game during work hours, issuing warning letters and imposing suspensions from work without pay.

The survey also shows that employers are taking a strong stance against the game with 95% of the respondents saying they do not allow employees to access the app at work.

“Some 96% also prohibit workers from using the company e-mail address to sign up for the game,” Shamsuddin says.

The survey found that 25% of bosses have caught employees playing the game during work hours.

“Some 11% of employers also claim that their workers are taking a longer lunch break because of the game,” he says, adding that 50% of poll participants were from the manufacturing sector while the rest were from other industries.

Employers are also taking it a step further, with 54% wanting to request that game developer Niantic Labs remove PokéStops and Gyms near their offices or work place. PokéStops are spots for players to replenish game items while PokéGyms are where players can go to battle and train their monsters.

So back to the question, can an employer sack an employee over Pokemon Go game? The answer is always go back to the basic where you’ll need to issue a Show Cause Letter to the Employee based on his/her “Punch Card”. Should the employee admits to the charges based on your show cause letter, then you may proceed with the next disciplinary action but always remember that termination is only the last resort should you have provided ample opportunities for this employee to improve himself/herself. If, in the event the employee denies all the charges stipulated in your show cause letter, you may then hold the Domestic Inquiry together with you panel and that particular employee. Follow the DI procedure accordingly with actual facts and witnesses. At the end of the DI, you may then proceed with the next course of action.

This popular game, which requires players to move around in real life to catch not-so-real “pocket monsters”, or Pokémon, has been received with open arms by Malaysians since its launch on Aug 6 here.

Check out some interesting stats gathered by MEF (Malaysian Employers Federation) below:




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