The types of behaviour considered to be gross misconduct will vary from organisation to organisation. If misconduct of an employee is so serious that it undermines the mutual trust and confidence between the employee and their employer and merits instant dismissal, this is known as gross misconduct. An employer’s decision to dismiss an employee summarily on grounds of gross misconduct was not a reasonable response to an employee’s failure to adhere to a new health and safety procedure. The Court of Appeal handed down a fascinating judgment in July concerning a gross misconduct dismissal on the grounds of a serious breach of Health and Safety Regulations. However, Mr Andrews received only a written warning, on the basis that he was less experienced and had shown more remorse. When employees commit such severe breaches of health and safety rules, this often results in significant liability and reputational damage for employers. What could amount to gross misconduct? However, a clear definition of gross misconduct eludes many employers. Ensure you have a section in your employee handbook relating to Gross Negligence and omissions being potential acts of Gross Misconduct. A disciplinary policy usually provides a non –exhaustive list of examples of behaviour that meet the definition of gross misconduct. When deciding how to respond to misconduct, an employer must ensure they conduct a fair investigation and disciplinary process. Gross misconduct is an act that’s so serious it justifies dismissal without notice, even for a first offence. But employers sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that everything with a health and safety element is a risk to health and safety and therefore dismissal-worthy. Gross or serious misconduct, however, has intent. Gross misconduct letter template. Your disciplinary rules should give examples of what will be treated as gross misconduct. For example, some lesser misconduct may lead to a warning, more serious misconduct may lead to a dismissal. Damage to the business Any of these acts of gross misconduct could cost the business money, damage its reputation as a good employer and honest business, and lead to legal action. Breach of health & safety rules. Endangering oneself or other employees. There have to been too many instances that prove the value of rigorous health and safety measures. Very serious misconduct such as theft, physical violence or significant breaches of health and safety rules can be referred to as Gross Misconduct. Given that definition, while an employer may assume that an employee whose conduct causes a serious and imminent risk to health and safety is guilty of serious misconduct, unless there is a "wilful and deliberate" element to that conduct, the Fair Work Commission may not share that view in an unfair dismissal context. In an event such as that, the actions of the employee may call for a dismissal without notice even at first offence. Gone are the days of the health-and-safety-gone-mad-zealots. major breaches of health and safety rules . Most employers would identify intoxication (whether from drink or drugs), fighting or other physical abuse, indecent behaviour, theft, dishonesty, sabotage, serious breaches of health and safety rules, offensive behaviour (such as discrimination, harassment, bullying, abuse and violence) and gross insubordination as examples of gross misconduct. A colleague who does not wear a high-visibility vest in the warehouse or one that does not use the appropriate safety equipment when using machinery, for example, may be liable to allegations of gross misconduct. Background This could be enough to be classed as gross misconduct. Gross misconduct is inappropriate behaviour that's so serious you have the right to dismiss the employee for their first offence. They’re acts that destroy the trust and confidence between you and your employee. Such actions that betray the trust that is essential for a positive working relationship often constitute gross misconduct dismissal. In any misconduct scenario, clarity is key. Gross misconduct, on the other hand, can cause palpable damage to the business. Gross negligence also focuses on the magnitude of the risks involved, such that, if more than ordinary care is not taken, a serious mishap is likely to occur. Setting the position and next steps out in a legal letter format will help you, your employee, a court or tribunal and anyone else involved understand the process you’re following. Some of these will be obvious for you. Welcome to the Wirehouse portal. Other examples include things like serious breaches of health and safety, fighting in the workplace, or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What is classed as gross misconduct at work? Examples of gross misconduct include theft, fraud, physical violence or a serious breach of health and safety regulations. Damage to Property This can include acts of willful or deliberate damage to office property or gross negligence, which may culminate in a substantial damage or loss to property. It will typically include theft, fraud, physical violence and serious breaches of health and safety. The Fair Work Regulations define serious misconduct as behaviour that causes serious and imminent risk to the reputation or profits of the business or health and safety of another person, or is deliberate behaviour inconsistent with continuing the employment. An employer’s response to misconduct must be fair and reasonable in all of the circumstances. Gross misconduct relates to the actions or behaviour of the employee. Examples of serious misconduct, subject to the rule that each case should be judged on its merits, are gross dishonesty or wilful damage to the property of the employer, wilful endangering of the safety of others, physical assault on the employer, a fellow employee, client or customer and gross … Gross misconduct is an action or behaviour that breaks the implied contractual term of trust and confidence between an employee and employer. Moreover, this is to ensure fairness and prevent the risks of an employee claiming for unfair dismissal. Some gross misconduct examples are: Intoxication while at work; Violence at work; Serious health & safety breaches; Bullying; Harassment; Discrimination; Ultimately it is up to you to decide what constitutes misconduct, but you have to be consistent. It’s clear to see how this scenario constitutes gross misconduct. The Employment Appeals Tribunal said that where serious injury or death can result, a one-off act of misconduct might count as gross misconduct and warrant dismissal. In this situation, the employee can be summarily (instantly) dismissed. Gross misconduct often is decided on a case-by-case basis, except in cases of criminal or illegal actions, such as embezzlement and violent behavior that overtly threatens the safety and well-being of both the employee and his colleagues. Breaching health & safety rules may be deemed gross misconduct where it places the employee and others at risk of harm or injury by, for example, consistently refusing to follow company safety processes when operating machinery. In most cases, an act of gross misconduct is enough to justify grounds for immediate dismissal. Usually, it means theft, fraud, assault, or intoxication at work. What constitutes gross misconduct? However, an employee accountable for gross misconduct has, through behaviour so serious as to negate the appropriateness of warnings, destroyed the employment relationship and overturned the contract between the employer and himself. Following an investigation and disciplinary procedure, Mr Newbound was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. Increasing the risk of work-related accidents and potentially bringing the company into disrepute. Even in non-safety critical roles, employees who are regularly under par at work due to excessive alcohol consumption are liable to be subject to misconduct, or even capability proceedings. Failing to adhere to health and safety requirements could amount to gross misconduct. Offensive behaviour. Any gross misconduct disciplinary procedure needs to be thorough and follow a strict process. Gross misconduct can be broken down into five categories: Theft or damage; Fraud; Offensive behaviour; Health and safety breaches; Substance misuse; In this guide we’ll go into further detail about what these categories cover, and how they can negatively affect your business. Professional HR and Health and Safety support and advice for businesses across the UK. Mr Newbound had worked for Thames Water for 34 years. He had an excellent disciplinary record. Gross misconduct is deemed to be conduct so serious so as to justify the summary dismissal of an employee. With respect to gross misconduct refers to behavior that can get a person dismissed straight away from work because it is serious enough and possibly criminal. As ever, context will be key; there will be different levels of tolerance depending on the employer and the role being undertaken by the employee. Examples of acts of gross misconduct include theft; fraud; deliberate acts of discrimination or harassment; refusal to carry out reasonable instructions, violent or intimidating behaviour, wilful damage to property or breach of health and safety rules. Being drunk or under the influence of drugs at work could also lead to other categories of gross misconduct such as physical violence or negligence of health and safety. However, the most common examples can include: Vandalism of workplace property; Gross negligence; A severe breach of health and safety rules; Violence; Theft, fraud, and dishonesty What constitutes gross misconduct? The sub-folder also contains a disciplinary policy and letter templates concerning gross misconduct suspension and dismissal notices. Theft or damage In the misconduct and gross misconduct sub-folder, you can find related warning documents such as letters and notices, letters and guidance regarding the conduct of any misconduct-related hearing. Employees who arrive to work under the influence of drugs and alcohol can pose a serious threat to the health & safety of colleagues and any third parties. Gross misconduct. Behaviour that causes a security/health risk. Gross misconduct examples 1. The test for gross misconduct is “Would it be reasonable to consider this action to be a serious breach of acceptable workplace behaviour.” To avoid the employee claiming that they didn’t think some actions amounted to gross misconduct it is best to list these borderline areas as gross misconduct. It is a premeditated act to harm the company or another person. An action made by an employee may result in a major security risk or a health and safety risk. As already stated, different actions can fall under the heading of gross misconduct, and the list is not exhaustive. 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