Fair Misconduct Dismissal

How To Achieve A Fair Misconduct Dismissal And Avoid An Unfair Dismissal Claim

The need for disciplinary action will be as a result from the inappropriate conduct or behaviour by one of your employee’s. Dismissal will be an appropriate outcome in a disciplinary situation where the employee fails to correct their conduct or behaviour following previous formal disciplinary warnings or where their conduct or behaviour is so serious it warrants instant dismissal (gross misconduct). Misconduct is one of the five fair reasons for dismissing an employee. Read my tips to achieving a fair misconduct dismissal and avoid an unfair dismissal claim.

What Behaviours Lead to Disciplinary Action?

There is no legal list of what constitutes misconduct or gross misconduct.  The range of behaviours will be different in each business and what one business views as gross misconduct another may view with more leniency and take a harder approach to a different set of behaviours.  The circumstances to take into account when compiling a list of behaviours for misconduct and gross misconduct for your business will be:

  • Type of work performed
  • Safety issues
  • Importance of reliable attendance and timekeeping
  • Risks to the business of misuse of equipment

What Procedure Must You Follow?

If an employee’s conduct does not meet acceptable standards the company’s disciplinary procedure must be followed through each stage to ensure the dismissal is fair.

The procedure should follow the guidelines set out in the ACAS Code of Practice.  The Code sets out the steps that should be taken to ensure a fair and reasonable procedure is followed for resolving instances of misconduct in the workplace.

The ACAS code of practice states that:

  • Issues should be raised and dealt with promptly by both parties, with no intentional delaying of meetings, agreement to decisions etc.
  • Both employers and employees should act consistently throughout the case.
  • Employers should undertake necessary investigations to discover and resolve reported grievances.
  • In the case of an employee disciplinary, employees should have the nature of the case explained to them and be given a reasonable chance to put their case and response forward.
  • Employees should be given the chance to be accompanied to grievance and disciplinary meetings.
  • Employees should be allowed to appeal any decision reached by their employer regarding any grievance, disciplinary or dismissal.

Unfair Dismissal

Unchanged: As we outlined in our article of Fair Reasons for Dismissal where a company fails to follow the procedure the employee can make a claim for Unfair Dismissal. Should either party fail to follow the ACAS Code then compensation awarded could be increased (in the case of employers failing to comply) or decreased (in the case of employees failing to comply) by up to 25%.

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It can be complex, costly and time-consuming to manage employees. Kea HR is the helping hand you need to save time, reduce costs and protect your business. The Kea HR Advice Service enables you to make fully informed decisions that are right for your business! So, you can be confident you can deal with whatever situation arises without losing focus on your core business.

HR doesn’t need to bureaucratic, but it does need doing otherwise you risk receiving time-consuming and expensive claims against your business.

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Fair Misconduct Dismissal


Kathryn is a highly experienced HR Manager with a wealth of skills and knowledge acquired across a variety of industries including manufacturing, health and social care and financial services. She has worked in small localised business and larger multi sited organisations and is comfortable liaising with senior managers and union officials as well as answering queries from team members. Connect with Kathryn on:

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