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What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is behaviour or an action by an employee that is deemed totally unacceptable or inappropriate to the point that it could warrant instant dismissal. Gross misconduct could include theft, physical violence, sexual harassment, being drunk on duty or intentionally not following procedures or instructions with serious, or potentially serious, consequences. It should be deliberate and bad enough to end the contractual agreement with the member of staff. 

There are three main types of misconduct that can be carried out by employees – misconduct, serious misconduct and gross misconduct. Although there is no process defined by law as to how to deal with them, it must be made sure by the business that it is handled fairly. Misconduct may include something like regularly turning up to work late and it might be dealt with by giving the employee a few chances to improve, with meetings to discuss how this can be done and with set deadlines, all backed up in writing. Serious misconduct is an incident that is deemed severe enough to issue a first and final warning. Gross misconduct warrants instant dismissal without pay or giving notice but this must also be done fairly. The occurrence will need to be investigated and there should be evidence, with the employee being given the chance to respond and appeal. 

An organisation may want to outline examples of offences specific their business that would be considered misconduct (gross and serious) and the procedures for dealing with these in a policy document or training that is given to all members of the team. 

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