Gross Misconduct

What Is Gross Misconduct?

Gross misconduct is when an employee commits an action that is so bad it requires immediate dismissal.

What Are Examples of Gross Misconduct?

Theft or fraud – this could be stealing office equipment or stealing belongings of other colleagues. It can also include the theft of data, making fraudulent expense claims, and falsifying accounts.

Breach of health and safety – an example of this would be if you don’t wear the correct protective equipment (often, this would be on a building site). Other breaches of health safety rules might be dangerous driving on-site or not using safety guards on machinery.

Offensive behavior – this can be between colleagues or between an employee and a customer. Offensive behavior includes (but isn’t limited to) aggressive behavior, harassment, fighting, or bullying.

Incapacitation – this is when an employee is unable to work due to taking drugs or drinking while at work. This can also cover the selling of drugs or possession of drugs in the workplace.

Property damage – this one is relatively self-explanatory but refers specifically to the wilful destruction of company property.

How Do You Deal with Gross Misconduct in the Workplace?

  • Decide whether to suspend the employee on full pay.
  • If you decide to allow them to continue working, then a thorough risk assessment is required.
  • At this point, you will need to collect and store evidence surrounding the gross misconduct claim.
  • If evidence is discovered, then a letter should be issued detailing the behavior related to the gross misconduct claim.
  • Set up a hearing. It’s essential to let the employee know that they can have a colleague present. From the employer’s side, it’s crucial that the hearing include a chairperson and someone taking notes.
  • Following the hearing, you’ll need to set out in writing the outcome of the hearing. Ensure that the letter includes the nature of the gross misconduct, time for improvement, the disciplinary penalty, and the reasons that actions have been taken.


See our full list of over 50 Small Business Terms here


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