Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, most days we receive calls from clients who are facing gross misconduct allegations and are, understandably, concerned about their employment. However, in these circumstances, it is always important to try not to panic. Even if you are facing allegations of gross misconduct, this does not necessarily mean you will be dismissed from your employment. Please read on to find out more.
I Have Been Notified of Gross Misconduct Allegations – What Is Gross Misconduct?
There is no set definition of gross misconduct, as it often depends on the facts of each individual case and the particular circumstances of each employer. However, the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures describes acts of gross misconduct as something:
“…so serious in themselves or have such serious consequences that they may call for dismissal without notice for a first offence.”
By way of example, common acts of gross misconduct include:
- Physical violence
- Sexual harassment
- Deliberate vandalisation or damage to company property
- Gross negligence
- Serious insubordination
I Have Been Notified of Gross Misconduct Allegations – Will I Be Sacked?
The short answer is – not necessarily!
Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we have a combined 80 years’ experience advising clients facing gross misconduct allegations at work. We therefore understand facing these allegations can be stressful and puts pressure on you and your family. However, one of the first things we say to our clients who are facing gross misconduct allegations is – try not to panic!
If you have been notified of gross misconduct allegations, this means your employer considers you may have committed act(s) of gross misconduct. They will therefore need to undertake certain steps and make certain decisions. These are as detailed below.
Firstly, your employer will need to take fact-finding steps to consider what you have allegedly done, and what (if any) action needs to be taken.
During the investigation process, your employer should carry out all necessary enquiries and gather relevant evidence. This will likely include collating all relevant documentation; retrieving relevant CCTV footage; collecting witness statements; and, holding a fact-finding meeting with you. Importantly, the investigation process (including any suspension) should not result in any disciplinary action in and of itself.
Once your employer has completed their investigation (as above), they will firstly need to decide whether there is in fact a disciplinary case to answer. Whilst it is easy to think about the worst-case scenario, remember there are several possible outcomes of a disciplinary investigation:
a) Firstly, your employer could decide, based on the available evidence and your representations, that there is no disciplinary case to answer. If this is the case, there should be no further action taken.
b) Alternatively, your employer could decide there is a disciplinary case to answer. If this happens, a disciplinary hearing (as below) will be scheduled.
If your employer does find there is a disciplinary case to answer, importantly, this still does not mean you will be dismissed. You should be provided with an opportunity to attend a disciplinary hearing to make your representations and defend yourself.
For more information about attending a disciplinary hearing, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/employee-top-tips-for-a-disciplinary-hearing/
Following your disciplinary hearing, again, there are several possible outcomes. Your employer will, again, need to review the available evidence and decide, on the balance of probabilities, whether the allegation(s) against you are proven. If they are unproven, no further action should be taken.
If the allegations are found to be proven, this still does not necessarily mean you will be dismissed. Your employer should consider the full range of disciplinary sanctions available such as warnings or demotion before deciding on dismissal with notice or summary (immediate) dismissal.
Importantly, if the allegations are found to be proven and your employer imposes a disciplinary sanction (such as your dismissal), you should also have the opportunity to appeal this decision. This gives you the opportunity to challenge your employer’s decision, to put forward your case further and potentially change the outcome.
For information about this, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/how-do-i-appeal-my-gross-misconduct-dismissal/ and https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/work-disciplinary/
Employment Tribunal Claims
Depending on your employer’s actions, it is important to note you may also have claims in the Employment Tribunal. For example, if your employer does decide to dismiss you and their decision was unreasonable, you may have a claim for Unfair Dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. Please see our blog here –https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/resignation-dismissal-and-redundancy/unfair-dismissal/
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
Again, if you are facing allegations of gross misconduct, it is important to try not to panic. This does not necessarily mean you will be dismissed. Notwithstanding this, it is important you take the disciplinary process (and the chance of disciplinary sanction) seriously. You will need take steps to prepare yourself and make your case coherently throughout the process.
In these circumstances, we advise you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you would like a free consultation with one of team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 and we will be happy to help.
Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors
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