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What Is “Quiet Quitting” And What Can Employers Do To Avoid It

Quiet Quitting

Sep 2, 2022

Submitted by:
Caitlin P. Dettmer
Associate, Labor, and Employment Law Group
Connell Foley

In the last several weeks, “quiet quitting” trended on TikTok and has crept into the lexicon of more traditional media outlets. What is it and what can employers do about it?

Quiet quitting is a misnomer—employees are not truly quitting. Advocates of quiet quitting say it is a reflection of employees’ growing frustrations with unclear expectations at work. Examples of quiet quitting include refusing to do tasks outside of a job description or outside of work hours. The trend is nothing new. In recent years, similar ideas have made their way into the corporate discourse with phrases like “act your wage” and the idea of the “right to disconnect.”

Though it sounds like a mass exodus of employees from the workforce is imminent, the catchy alliteration is really just a reminder to employers to communicate expectations to their employees.

Below are a few ways employers can best prepare for, and hopefully minimize the impact of, quiet quitting:

  • Job Descriptions: Job descriptions set the parameters of what is expected of an employee performing in a particular role. Employers should review job descriptions often to ensure they accurately reflect the duties expected of the individual in the role, properly classify the employee as exempt or non-exempt, and clearly set forth the qualifications needed to fulfill the position.
  • Performance Reviews: Performance reviews are important; they form the basis of disciplinary actions and promotions. Employers should use performance reviews to identify what an employee has done well and what can be improved. Communicating expectations clearly will ensure employees know what’s expected of them. They are also an opportunity to review whether employees have taken on additional responsibilities or tasks in the last year and to justify any title and/or salary adjustment.
  • Employee Handbooks: Yet another way for employers to communicate their expectations to their workforce is through an employee handbook. The handbook should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure compliance with current laws and to align with the organization’s employment practices. A well-drafted handbook furthers administrative efficiency and can provide valid defenses in the event of legal action.

Have questions about how to deal with an employee who you believe to be quiet quitting or need help with any of the above? Contact a member of Connell Foley’s labor and employment team.

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