An employer’s guide to gross misconduct

Are you considering taking action against an employee, more specifically, dismissing them without notice? When it comes to instant dismissal, if you’re not sure where you stand as an employer, you could end up with an employment tribunal on your hands which can be very stressful and time-consuming to deal with.

We know terminating contracts can be extremely challenging to face for both employers and employees but if your policies are clearly outlined in your handbooks and contracts of employment, everyone should know where they stand.

Certain acts and behaviours – otherwise known as gross misconduct – allow you to instantly dismiss an employee without notice.

An employer dismissing an employee.

What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is an act that is so serious it warrants immediate dismissal, without notice, for a first-time offense. There are very specific acts that constitute gross misconduct, and these include:

  • theft
  • physical violence
  • gross negligence
  • fraud
  • accessing illegal images on business IT
  • harassment
  • breaching Health & Safety rules
  • deliberate damage to business property
  • failing to follow reasonable management instructions

This kind of behaviour can incur huge costs for your business and even damage your relationships with clients, customers, and service users, and breaks down trust between you and your employee.

How is it different to misconduct?

Gross misconduct is serious enough to dismiss an employee straight away, whereas misconduct is a less serious offence, and only warrants a warning.

Examples of misconduct are:

  • Lateness
  • Standards of work are below what’s expected
  • Rudeness towards clients, members of the public, or other employees
  • Unauthorized use of computer equipment, email, and internet

All of the above points can be worked on if you take the right disciplinary procedures which might involve verbal warnings, holding an investigation, etc.

How to dismiss someone – legally

An eight-step guide to sacking someone – legally.

Download the guide

HR and Employment Law – the basics

Your free and comprehensive guide to Employment Law

Download the guide

Following a fair dismissal procedure

Before you make the decision to dismiss an employee, you must follow a fair dismissal process. Here are the eight fundamental considerations to follow:

  1. Ensure you conduct a thorough investigation first and keep a paper trail of written records throughout the process, so you can provide evidence that you’ve followed a fair process.
  2. Consider whether it’s appropriate to suspend the employee. This could be done where, for example, the employee is going to continue working in the area that it is alleged the Gross Misconduct occurred and there is no appropriate alternative work they could do in the meantime.
  3. Don’t base your dismissal on discriminatory grounds. This includes any protected status under the Equality Act, including an employee’s age, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
  4. Hold your disciplinary hearing as soon as is reasonably possible so you address the issue straight away.
  5. Before the hearing, make sure you let the employee know – in a written statement – what the allegation against them is, provide them with copies of any evidence against them and confirm possible consequences. Also make sure they know the date, time and venue of the hearing so they have time to assess the situation and prepare for the hearing.
  6. Make sure your employee knows that they have a right to be accompanied during the disciplinary hearing – this could be by a colleague or a union rep.
  7. During the hearing, let the employee put their case forward, respond to your allegations, ask questions and present their own evidence.  Don’t make any decision prior to the hearing when they have not had the chance to present their version of events.
  8. Allow your employee to appeal your decision if they think it’s unfair. They have this right regardless of the decision or case so make sure a senior, appointed member of the team deals with the appeal promptly and impartially.
alt text

What to do if an employee ghosts you

It’s the end of the working day. You wish your employees farewell. But one of them never shows their face...

Read the article
alt text

10 common disciplinary mistakes

Disciplinary proceedings can be a minefield and getting the process wrong can be costly and damaging to your business. Listed...

Read the article

How can Citation help?

From managing employment contracts to dealing with dismissals, our team of experts can be by your side day and night to help you navigate the complexities of HR & Employment Law.

 

You’ll get 24/7, 365 days a year access to our advice line – so whatever your issue, there’s someone on the other end of a phone call to help you and your business out.

You’ll also receive access to our online platform, Atlas. That way you can store, amend and distribute contracts – and much more – all from one, cloud-based platform.

Plus, we’ll make sure to keep you updated as soon as any legislation is updated or if your responsibilities change.

GET A FREE CONSULTATION

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap