Misconduct in the workplace can certainly be grounds for fair dismissal, but employers need to make sure they satisfy their own legal obligations. Unfortunately, there are a number of common mistakes that are made during this process, including the five listed below.
- Not Conducting a Proper Investigation
It doesn’t matter how obvious, galling, or harmful an employee’s misconduct is, you still need to get all the evidence together. There could be mitigating factors that need to be taken into account, and a decision to dismiss could be seen as unfair if you don’t investigate the full circumstances.
- Not Conducting a Disciplinary Hearing
Evidence isn’t enough to dismiss an employee on grounds of misconduct. Once that evidence has been collected, you must conduct a disciplinary hearing. This allows you to present the evidence, and also allows employees the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against them.
- Not Providing a Reason for Dismissal
Your employees will be eligible to claim unfair dismissal if you don’t express the exact grounds upon which your dismissal decision was made. You must be clear and specific; don’t just state that the employee was dismissed due to misconduct or poor performance.
- Not Offering the Right to Accompaniment
Employees enjoy a number of legal rights, including the option to bring a colleague or trade union representative to any disciplinary hearing. They are not legally obligated to do so, but employers must let them know that they are entitled to accompaniment. A legal representative is not required unless the dismissal would seriously compromise their ability to work within their chosen profession.
- Not Notifying Employees About the Right to Appeal
Employees also have the right to appeal against a decision to dismiss due to misconduct charges. Again, this is something that you must notify your employee of. The dismissal should be given in writing, along with details of how and when the employee can appeal the decision.
If you’re unsure of your own legal obligations, make sure you contact an employment lawyer to ensure that everything is conducted properly.