If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, you have the right to appeal your employer’s decision. Please read on to find out more.
Most days we receive calls from concerned clients who have been dismissed for gross misconduct and are, understandably, unsure of what options they have moving forward. If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, we would be delighted to help. For a free consultation with one of the 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’ll be happy to help.
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 (“ACAS Code of Practice”) describes acts of gross misconduct as “so serious in themselves or have such serious consequences that they may call for dismissal without notice for a first offence.”
If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, you may be aware of your employer having their own list of acts deemed as gross misconduct. This is often located in their Employee Handbook or Disciplinary Policy. However, 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 Dismissed For Gross Misconduct – Should I Appeal?
Whether you decide to appeal your dismissal is, of course, completely your decision. However, if you are unhappy with your employer’s decision to dismiss you, we would advise you to submit an appeal. This is because:
a) If you do not appeal, your dismissal will remain on your personnel record and cannot be challenged (internally) months later. Think of your appeal as your last chance to challenge your employer’s decision, to put forward your case and potentially change the outcome. By submitting an appeal, your employer may consider your submissions and change the outcome (for example, you could be reinstated with a Final Written Warning).
b) Also, if you are considering pursuing a claim (such as, a claim for Unfair Dismissal) in the Employment Tribunal, an Employment Tribunal Judge will expect you to have exhausted all internal processes which would include appeals. They can reduce your compensation if you fail to do so. For more information about a claim for Unfair Dismissal, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/can-you-claim-unfair-dismissal-if-you-have-been-sacked-for-gross-misconduct/
I Have Been Dismissed For Gross Misconduct – How Do I Submit An Appeal?
If you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, you should have received confirmation (in writing) of your employer’s decision and the reasons for your dismissal. Usually, information about how to submit an appeal (and the relevant timeframe for doing so) will be included in your dismissal letter. If this is the case, it is very important you follow your employer’s own procedure.
Even if your dismissal letter is silent on the appeal process, you should still have the opportunity to appeal. If you have not been provided with information about how to appeal your dismissal, you should contact the person who dealt with your dismissal as soon as possible, confirm your intention to appeal and ask for details of how to do so.
Importantly, you should submit your grounds of appeal in writing. This will assist you and your employer throughout your appeal hearing (as detailed below) and can be essential in the event of a later dispute.
I Have Been Dismissed For Gross Misconduct – What Should I Say In My Appeal?
What you say in your appeal against dismissal will, of course, depend on your personal circumstances and the reasons for your dismissal.
For this reason, if you wish to appeal your gross misconduct dismissal, we recommend seeking legal advice as soon as possible. Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we have over 80 years’ combined experience advising clients throughout the disciplinary appeal process. We would therefore be delighted to help. For a free consultation with one of the team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01522 440512.
As a general guide, your appeal should provide full details of why you disagree with your employer’s decision and the reasons why you consider your dismissal is unfair. This may include grounds such as:
- You do not consider you have done anything wrong
- You did not receive sufficient training, which caused your act(s) of gross misconduct
- Dismissal was an unreasonable sanction, and your employer should have opted for a lesser sanction (such as a warning).
- Your employer failed to consider the context of the act(s) and any mitigating factors
- Your employer failed to act consistently. For example, you might be aware of others who have done the same acts but have not been disciplined and/or dismissed
- Your employer failed to follow a fair disciplinary procedure, and this impacted your ability to defend yourself against the allegations.
On this last point, importantly, even if you have been dismissed for gross misconduct, your employer should have still followed a fair disciplinary procedure. Your employer should have followed their own disciplinary procedure (if they have one) and, in any event, adhered to the ACAS Code of Practice. This sets out the minimum standard expected of an employer when dealing with disciplinary proceedings.
Essentially, your employer should have:
- Investigated the allegations against you to establish the facts of the case (which may, or may not, have included holding an investigation meeting with you); and
- Informed you about the problem, provided you with sufficient information about the alleged misconduct, and explained the possible outcomes of the disciplinary hearing; and
- Invited you to a disciplinary hearing; and
- Allowed you to be accompanied at the disciplinary hearing (for more information about this, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/who-can-i-take-with-me-to-my-disciplinary-hearing/ ) ; and
- Decided on the appropriate action; and
- Informed you of the outcome in writing; and
- Provided you with an opportunity to appeal the outcome (as above).
If your employer did not follow a fair disciplinary procedure before dismissing you, as above, you should raise this within your appeal against dismissal.
I Have Submitted My Grounds of Appeal – What Happens Next?
If you have decided to submit an appeal against your dismissal, it is important you understand the next steps. This should be detailed in your employer’s disciplinary policy, if they have one. If this is the case, make sure your employer follows their own procedure!
In any event, as a minimum, your employer should follow the ACAS Code of Practice when dealing with your appeal against dismissal. Essentially, your employer should:
- Deal with your appeal impartially. This means, if possible, it should be referred to another member of the organisation (such as, another manager).
- Your grounds of appeal should then be reviewed and, depending on the points raised, potentially re-investigated.
- You should then be invited to an appeal hearing. You should be informed about your right to be accompanied at the appeal hearing. This is the same as your right to be accompanied at any disciplinary hearing, and more information about this can be found here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/who-can-i-take-with-me-to-my-disciplinary-hearing/
- Your appeal hearing should be held without unreasonable delay and at an agreed time and place. During this hearing, your employer should consider your grounds of appeal and, if necessary, they may re-hear all of the relevant disciplinary evidence.
- Following your appeal hearing, you should receive the outcome (in writing) as soon as possible.
If your appeal against dismissal is unsuccessful and your employer’s decision remains unchanged, you may have a claim for Unfair Dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. For more information about this, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/can-you-claim-unfair-dismissal-if-you-have-been-sacked-for-gross-misconduct/
Employment Tribunal Claims – Be Careful of Your Time Limits!
If you are thinking of appealing your dismissal, make sure you keep an eye on your calendar! You need to keep in mind there are strict time limits for claims in the Employment Tribunal which run from your last day of employment, even if you have submitted an appeal. For more information about time limits in the Employment Tribunal, please see here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/is-your-employment-tribunal-claim-in-time/
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
Here at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, we understand that being dismissed for gross misconduct can have a devastating effect on you and your family. As specialist employment solicitors, we would be delighted to help you. If you would like a free consultation with one of the team at Lincs Law Employment Solicitors, please contact us for a free no obligation consultation with a fully qualified Employment Solicitor. Simply use the contact form, engage in a web chat, email email@example.com or call us on 01522 440512 and we’ll be happy to help.
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