Can you get Fired for Sleeping on the Job?

Did your boss just catch you sleeping on the job and worried you might be fired? There are a number of factors that can affect your punishment for sleeping while at work if you get caught taking a nap on the job. In some businesses your boss might not care while it other lines of work it can lead to immediate termination!

Some people like to catch some sleep in their car during lunch, in must places this is allowed for short amounts of time but make sure it is legal to sleep overnight before spending the night in the parking lot!

Chronic Sleepiness

Studies have shown that most employees come to work tired on a regular basis. This results in less work getting done and costs billions of dollars in lost revenue. Many employees look to the use of caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and Red Bull to keep their energy up and avoid sleep deprivation throughout the day.

What if I Catch An Employee Sleeping?

Trying to find the appropriate punishment after catching someone sleeping on the clock? While your initial reaction may be to fire the employee it is important to remember that it is much more expensive to replace an employee than it is to accommodate them and work around their problems, plus they may have legal protections under the ADA and FMLA!

Try talking with your employee and discover the root of the problem, in some cases they may have just had a few late nights in a row!

FMLA and ADA

Almost 50 million people in the United States suffer from a sleep disorder or other chronic sleep problems that affect their day to day life. If you are one of the 50 million people that experience chronic sleep problems and get caught sleeping on the job you may have rights under the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans Disability Act!

If you have informed your employer of your condition ahead of time they may be required to accommodate for your condition. In the past, courts have ruled that employers must offer FMLA leave to employees to use when they feel sleep deprived if they have a medical sleep condition.

Make sure to talk with your HR department about your condition when you are hired or receive a diagnosis and use your time allotted under the FMLA or it may be tough to prove your case in court! Your employer is required to offer an interactive plan and try to provide a reasonable accommodation for any medical condition, including sleep disorders.

Failure to Accommodate

If you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder talk with your boss and HR department about any accommodations you need. Your employer is required by federal law to make a reasonable effort to assist with your condition. Both parties need to be aware of conditions, limitations and other requirements based on the jobs standard operating procedures.

Common Accommodations

Some common accommodations employers make for employees with disabilities are:

  • Allowing naps and periods of rest at specific times and as needed
  • Letting employees lay down during breaks and meals
  • Allowing for additional meals and break time for snacks
  • Granting paid leave of FMLA leave to recover when necessary

Collecting Unemployment?

In most cases you will be able to collect unemployment if you have been fired for sleeping on the job. Make sure to apply for your benefits on time and fulfill and other obligations as part of your unemployment.

Remember, the unemployment office will be calling your former employer to verify your information and why you were let go so it is best to be honest!

If your boss recently caught you sleeping at your desk try taking the following actions:

  • Ask for a one on one meeting about the issue
  • Let your Human Resources department know about any sleep related medical problems and ask for accommodations
  • Consider switching to a night shift if it works better with your sleep schedule  

Fall Asleep Faster!

We put together a list of 100+ tips to help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed!

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