First you need to know the answer to this fatal question: What is Gross Misconduct?
Across most workplaces there is a general understanding as to what is understood as being gross misconduct at work. But there is no exhaustive list that all businesses should follow so in many ways it is down to you, the employer, to produce a list clearly exemplifying what your business considers to be gross misconduct.
This should be included in all employee handbooks usually as part of the disciplinary procedure.
Examples of gross misconduct would typically include things like theft, physical violence, misuse of company equipment and serious breach of contract.
Once it is clearly understood between employer and employee as to behaviour that will not be tolerated then you need to also clarify the steps that will be taken if these rules are broken.
How to Handle Gross Misconduct
If this is a first offence, and they are typically a valuable and well-behaved employee then you may choose to just give them a written warning on this occasion. But a repeat offender, or a difficult employee, may need a different approach.
First, you may choose to suspend your employee (with full pay) whilst a full and thorough investigation is conducted. This conveys the seriousness of the allegation. You’ll need to obtain written statements and collect evidence to support any decision you make regarding their employment.
It’s crucial that you cover your back when undergoing this sort of business decision to avoid any claims of wrongful/unfair dismissal.
If this disciplinary procedure is clearly outlined in the employee handbook and you follow it to the tee, there shouldn’t be an issue.
Once you have consulted an employment law expert (this is strongly advised) and completed your investigation, you will need to call a disciplinary meeting with the employee in question.
During this meeting, it is your opportunity to discuss the behaviour and get a statement from the employee. It is only fair that they have a chance to defend their actions and you may even find that following this meeting they are not actually guilty of any misconduct or they show great remorse. This may lead you to decide to give them a second chance.
However, if this is not the case, you may then proceed to immediately dismiss the employee without pay in lieu of notice if you find that they are guilty of the said offence.
If you need some external support with gross misconduct issues, then our HR consultants are here to help. Call us now on 0845 2626 260 to book a free consultation.