Gross misconduct is an act carried out that is seen as being so serious that it justifies instant dismissal from a job without notice (or pay in lieu of notice). They are actions that will destroy the relationship, of trust and confidence, between an employer and the employee accused of the actions; making the working relationship impossible to continue.
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What is the meaning of gross misconduct?
Gross misconduct in the workplace is covered by a long list of offences that could be committed by any member of staff in the workplace. The behaviour that raises a gross misconduct enquiry, is usually unprofessional and/or unethical. Staff members are seen as falling short of standards expected in the typical workplace.
Severe conduct usually destroys any relationship between an employer and the employee. Following this break down in a relationship, instant dismissal (also known as ‘summary dismissal’) - without notice and without pay in lieu of notice - is usually given.
What constitutes gross misconduct in the workplace?
There are many examples of gross misconduct at work, here are a few examples of the more common reasons for gross misconduct in the workplace:
Damaging company property
Serious misuse of a business name or property
Misusing confidential information
Breaching health & safety
Being unable to work due to being under the influence of drink or drugs
Setting up a rival business.
What is the difference between ‘misconduct’ and ‘gross misconduct’?
A minor misconduct offence differs from the list of gross misconduct actions above and the difference in misconduct is substantial. Examples of ‘non-gross misconduct’ actions include regularly being late, failing to finish work tasks on time, failing to follow instructions and the poor execution of tasks. This list is not exhaustive and there are many examples of tasks that could be classed as misconduct.
If any of the above tasks were deliberate, this could lead to a disciplinary for gross misconduct.
What is the process for a gross misconduct dismissal?
The Acas Code of Practice
provides a procedure that businesses should follow if disciplinary action is being taken because of a gross misconduct claim. If an employer does not follow this correct process, and a member of staff is fired, the former employee may have a claim for unfair dismissal against its former employer.
Your employer should:
Investigate the allegations made
Inform the member of staff of the issues in writing
Give the member of staff an opportunity to respond to the allegations
Hold a disciplinary hearing or meeting with the member of staff
Inform the member of staff of its decision in writing
Provide the member of staff with the right to appeal.
Am I entitled to appeal against a gross misconduct dismissal?
Employees are entitled to appeal against any gross misconduct dismissal. If an employee does decide to appeal against a decision, the basis can be due to:
The way the disciplinary action was taken against them.
E.g an employer does not follow their own disciplinary policy or the Acas Code of Practice.
The evidence on which the employer has based a decision.
E.g. if an employer thought something was true without having evidence or doesn't have enough evidence to support it.
The actual decision the employer made.
E.g. if they have acted differently in the past in similar disciplinaries and the action they're proposing is too harsh.
Provide new evidence or reasons why disciplinary action shouldn't be taken.
E.g. an employee has a clean disciplinary record, work record and length of service. It may be that the employee requires training or adjustments to avoid the problem happening again.
Contact our Employment Law Solicitors
If you need advice, our employment law solicitors regularly represent clients in gross misconduct claims locally to our offices. For specialist employment law advice, contact our team of solicitors in our Harrogate or Leeds e offices today for a specialist, no-obligation FREE initial-consultation..