Gross misconduct is a serious behaviour by the employee that is so bad that it destroys your relationship with the employee. Where experts are involved, gross misconduct becomes professional negligence and can lead to the dismissal of the employed professional.
It might be challenging for some people to recognise gross misconduct but it is pretty easy to do so. Generally, gross misconduct is a serious breach of contract, including what an employer finds to be a cause of serious damage to a business or company. These are offences which irreparably break down trust and relationships in a business. You can find a professional negligence solicitor to guide and offer assistance in recognising and dealing with gross misconduct.
No exhaustive list of offences is available but common ones include
– physical violence
– damage to property
– accessing pornographic and other obscene material sites
– damaging a company’s reputation
– incompetence caused by dependence on alcohol and/or drugs
– failure to obey rules
– breaching health and safety rules
– serious neglect of duty
To easily recognise gross misconduct, you as the employer should have your own list with regards to the circumstances of your business. It would also be advisable to state that the list is not exhaustive. A better way to do it is to inform your employees of anything that generally could break down relationships and harm your business.
Having such a list shows that any employer involved in gross misconduct was aware that committing a certain offence is very serious and can lead to their dismissal.
You should be careful when dealing with gross misconduct. Ensure you have a disciplinary procedure for your business or firm, which is unique to it. Make sure that the policies and procedures used when dismissing an employee comply with the ACAS code of practice. This is because failing to follow the ACAS guidelines even in the event of professional negligence can lead to unfair dismissal claims. You most certainly don’t need a claim made against the company especially when you have already lost.
Take into account always neutrality and impartiality when dealing with gross misconduct. If it is possible, make sure roles of an investigation officer, disciplinary officer and appeal manager are performed by different members of the management team. No biases or unfair treatment can be associated with a dismissal handled this carefully. In case of a dismissal that escalates to a tribunal hearing, you are protected as the employer.
There are times when an employer is unable to decide if an offence counts as gross misconduct or not. You should involve a professional negligence solicitor if you are unsure of a situation before rendering a dismissal.
There are actually other alternatives to dismissal when dealing with gross misconduct. You can issue a warning, give a period of suspension without pay, strip seniority, demote or redeploy.