What is Workplace Misconduct and How to Manage It?

What is employee misconduct? And what can you do about misconduct or suspected misconduct? Summary dismissal occurs when someone’s employment is terminated immediately and without notice. An employee can be summarily dismissed where they are guilty of serious misconduct. You only need to pay that employee for time worked up to the moment of termination. Both substantive and procedural fairness must also be applied to serious misconduct.

Employee Misconduct

Employee Misconduct Examples

These are employee misconduct examples of acts which in particular cases have been found to justify summary dismissal:

  • Stealing
  • Sexual and other harassment
  • Violence
  • Criminal offences
  • Neglect of duty
  • Breach of trust
  • Breach of safety procedures
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances
  • Damaging company property

It is important to remember that cases of summary dismissal must be treated according to its specific circumstances. The list above is not an exhaustive account of employee misconduct acts, which may warrant summary dismissal.

It is critical that the HR Manager is consulted if you suspect misconduct.

Please click here for a sample “Termination Letter – Summarily Dismissed” .

If an investigation into the conduct or acts are required, the employee should be suspended on full pay for the period of the investigation. Please click here for a sample “Suspension of Employment Letter” .

If a formal investigation into employee misconduct is not required, a similar process to the Third Formal Performance Discussion should be used:

  1. Advise the employee of the allegations including provision to the employee of specific examples of the alleged conduct/behaviour.
  2. Advise the employee that, depending on reasons for the unacceptable behaviour/misconduct given during this discussion, termination of employment may result.
  3. Give the employee an opportunity to respond to the issues raised.
  4. If the explanation is not considered reasonable, advise the employee that this is a formal warning, and provide the employee with a further 24 hours to indicate why termination of their employment should not occur.
  5. Hear employee’s reasons for their action, adjourn to determine if the explanation given is reasonable.
  6. If not reasonable the Manager should prepare a letter of termination, advising the employee of his or her termination effective immediately as a result of employee misconduct, in accordance to the Summary Dismissal clause in their Employment Contract.

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