Sleeping While on Duty Law & Legal Definition


Sleeping while on duty can be a ground for discharging a person from his/her job. It is falling asleep by an employee during his/her duty hours. In some workplaces, this is considered a gross misconduct in some companies and may result in disciplinary action or even a termination of employment. Sleeping while on duty can be intentional or accidental. Sleeping while on duty is given importance and can be seen mentioned in most employee hand books. It may adversely affect productivity. It may also be dangerous in cases where an employee’s duty is to watch and prevent a hazardous situation. It also projects an unprofessional appearance. It is also called sleeping on the job.

Employers have different views on sleeping while on duty. Some employers are lenient and allow employees to take napping breaks during the workday as part of policy in order to improve productivity. Some others are strict and use high-tech means, such as video surveillance to catch employees who may be sleeping while on duty.

Some employers may prohibit sleeping, even during unpaid break time due to the unprofessional appearance of a sleeping employee and the need for an employee to be available during an emergency, or legal regulations. Employees who may endanger others by sleeping while on duty may face legal sanctions. In war time in the U.S., if a guard falls asleep on duty, s/he may face the death penalty under the statute.