What to do about gross misconduct

What is seen to be gross misconduct can vary from business to business. Your disciplinary procedure and handbook should contain examples of gross misconduct relevant to your business. These can include things such as theft, violence, gross negligence, criminal acts, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use or serious insubordination.

So, if you have an employee that has committed an act of gross misconduct, what do you do? Do you just dismiss them on the spot or to do need to follow a procedure?

If an employee commits an act of gross misconduct it can result in a summary dismissal without notice. It is important to remember however that despite the immediate nature of dismissal for gross misconduct, you must still follow the same steps as you would for any disciplinary.

 

In order for a dismissal without notice to be reasonable, you must make sure that you have conducted a fair investigation into any allegations.

 

Your company handbook will have a disciplinary procedure outlined that should be robust enough to cover all eventualities. You will need to send out invitations to hold meetings with any witnesses as well as the employee who has been accused of the misconduct.

 

You will need to present the employee with the allegations made against them and give them the opportunity to respond at a disciplinary hearing.

 

Actions that constitute gross misconduct can often be very serious, so it may be necessary to suspend the employee (on full pay) whilst the investigation is taking place.

 

Actions of gross misconduct can often lead to a break down of the relationship between you and the employee, which may make reconciliation seem impossible, however, you must offer the employee a right to appeal your decision of dismissal and who ever is hearing the appeal must have the authority to be able to uphold or overturn the decision.

 

The best way to protect yourself from potential claims is to make sure that the process you are following is fair and that the accused employee is engaged throughout the process.

 

Need help to deal with an employee who is under investigation for gross misconduct? Not sure what steps to take? Call us on 0115 870 0150 or email masa@yourhrlawyer.co.uk

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