Think sleeping on the job is against the rules?!? Here’s a funny warning to remind you to be REALLY clear about how your rules are written!

At My Maid Service, the last stage of our training program is apartment turn over. We like to use them for training because there is no client watching, so if they do a bad job it does not matter as long as we inspect it before we turn the keys back in. The other nice thing is, after cleaning apartments for a few weeks, the new hires will learn how to clean just about everything possible.  

[EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250]So, this one woman graduated to her first solo cleaning. We dropped her off to clean a relatively easy apartment alone and told her we would be back around 3:00 pm. Well, that was not 100% true because we like to sometimes surprise the employees. My lead trainer dropped in 90 minutes later and found the new employee curled up asleep on the floor using her cleaning clothes as a pillow and blankets. We woke her up and fired her on the spot.   

About two weeks later we get a letter from the unemployment commission saying she had applied for unemployment, and it says right on the form that she admitted to sleeping but that she was not fired with cause. I call the unemployment office, and they said, “No problem. Just send us your policy against sleeping on the job.”   

Now, I am very confused.  

I ask them if I really do need a policy against sleeping while you are clocked in, and they inform me I really do. They told me that if I do not have a policy against sleeping on the job, I fired the person without cause, and that she can draw unemployment (which in 2011 was for up to two years, which I would be paying for). I felt like I was in a bad joke! In what world is it required that you have a written policy against sleeping while you are being paid to clean? Do I need a policy that says you have to actually work too?   

Luckily, I am creative and after skimming my entire manual, I did find a written policy that says employees must be aware of the surroundings at all time for their own personal safety. So, technically she was not fired for sleeping; she was fired for not being aware of her surroundings. 

I won, but it was my first lesson on the frustrations of government regulations, and it reminded me that I needed to add many generic phrases to my manual about actually working while you are being paid.

Image courtesy of Graur Codrin / 

Derek Christian is the owner of My Maid Service with locations in Cincinnati, OH and Dallas, TX, as well as a business coach through Cleaning Business Builders and publisher of  Derek is now an investor in several cleaning companies including My Maid Service Dayton and Real World Services Columbus.  Derek is also a consultant for industry leaders Marvelous Maids and Castle Keepers.