Unfortunately, there will be occasions when you are forced to deal with an employee who has committed an act of misconduct.
The difference between misconduct and poor performance is usually fairly obvious, but there can be situations when the behaviour could fall under either heading. For example, if an employee in your accounts department fails to lock the petty cash tin and the money goes missing, is that poor performance or misconduct?
Most employers usually look at whether the employee’s actions were deliberate or simply negligent; however, in some cases, behaviour which is grossly negligent may well amount to misconduct.
Some examples of misconduct include lying, stealing, bullying, violence, fraud, gross insubordination and breach of the company’s policies.
It is helpful, although not compulsory, if your disciplinary procedure sets out examples of misconduct.
One question employers often ask is whether they can or should suspend an employee if they suspect he or she might have committed an act of misconduct.
As long as you follow these rules, suspension will be lawful:
- Always suspend on full pay.
- Only suspend if it is necessary to carry out an investigation.
- Keep the suspension as brief as possible.
Provided that you have followed the proper procedures, if the employee’s conduct is serious enough, it will be fair to dismiss them.