Misconduct and gross misconduct

Disciplinary issues arise when the employer has concerns about an employee’s conduct, absence from work or the way they are performing in their job. They may start a disciplinary procedure which could lead to disciplinary action (including dismissal in more serious cases).


Every organisation needs rules.  They set the standards of conduct and performance at work.  Rules cover things like timekeeping, absence, discrimination and gross misconduct.  An employee who does not adhere to the rules could be accused of misconduct. Details should be included in policies and documents, such as a written statement of employment particulars, which employers must provide to employees within their first two months.

Gross Misconduct

Very serious misconduct such as theft, physical violence or significant breaches of health and safety rules can be referred to as Gross Misconduct.  The types of behaviour considered to be gross misconduct will vary from organisation to organisation.

If an employee commits gross misconduct it means the employer may be permitted to dismiss the employee immediately.  However, the full three-stage standard statutory procedure should be used before deciding whether to dismiss someone.

Last updated: 19 September 2019