Do you know of a friend who lost their job because of gross misconduct? How has this influenced their career? Losing a job is one of the worst experiences in life. It can leave you stressed and agitated. The insecurity that builds up after losing a job is unmatched.
Justifying your worth in the job market guarantees a steady income. It is paramount to have complete knowledge of gross misconduct. This article provides you with the necessary information about gross misconduct and how it can affect your future employment.
What is gross misconduct?
You have most definitely heard the term gross misconduct or know of someone who got sacked because of this reason. So what does it really mean?
Gross misconduct is an exhaustive list of potential actions or deeds that can leave an employee open to instant dismissal. There is no extensive list that details what constitutes gross misconduct because it can vary from one company to another. There are, however, some common elements. These include:
- Entails an employee perpetrating a severe or unacceptable action
- These acts are often highly unethical, immoral, and grave.
- This behavior will severely harm any trust and destabilize the working relationship between employer and employee
- It will often injure the integrity or status of the workplace
What constitutes gross misconduct?
As stated, different actions can fall under gross misconduct. The list is long and endless but the most common examples are:
- Destruction of property at the office or workplace.
- Serious negligence or gross negligence.
- Indecent behavior, rebelliousness or threatening behavior.
- A serious infringement of health and safety rules at work.
- Dishonesty, fraud, or theft at work.
- Sexism, bribery, or any racial abuse.
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- Bullying, intimidation, or a type of harassment to clients and fellow employees.
- Criminal offenses, either inside or outside of the office.
- Diminishing or vandalizing the company’s reputation through actions, speech, or behavior.
In the event of gross misconduct, the employee is not promptly dismissed. Let us take a look at the process that an employer ought to follow.
The Process that the employer should follow
If an employee is accused of gross misconduct, the employer needs to follow the appropriate procedure before they relieve them of their duties. In the UK, the ACAS code outlines the accurate procedure that the employer should pursue. According to the ACAS code of conduct, the process is as follows.
- Conduct proper investigation, befitting of the gross misconduct.
- Inform the employee and other relevant authorities of the violation in writing.
- Afford the employee ample time to respond to the allegations.
- Schedule a meeting with the employee and listen to what they have to say.
- Pass the final verdict after the meeting in writing.
- The employee has the right to appeal the decision.
Sanctions of gross misconduct
Accusing an employee of gross misconduct should only be done only if there is irrefutable evidence of the violation. The evidence should be supported by clear company policy.
A list of actions classed as gross misconduct may be listed in the company handbook. However, dismissing an employee for serious actions or lapses in their judgment is not as clear-cut as it may seem. The employer must consider mitigating circumstances if any. In some cases, the employee might have acted out of character owing to a one-off incident, being unduly provoked, or they were experiencing personal problems.
If an employer has reason to believe that an employee has acted out of character or has reason to believe that their actions are a one-off, then it could result in lesser sanctions being imposed. These could include a final written warning or something similar.
All employers are expected to employ a consistent approach to dismissal for gross misconduct. This will guarantee employees fair and reasonable treatment at work.
Summary dismissal is the immediate or ‘instant’ termination of an employee’s contract due to their behavior or actions.
It may seem a reality within television realms, but a simple “you’re fired” declaration to an employee will not wash in real life. According to Qredible, an employer should never move straight to summary or instant dismissal without having completed a full and final investigation first.
If the employee gets dismissed even after stating the presence of extenuating circumstances, the employer must detail why they feel that it was not applicable in your case.
Irrespective of how grave an action is, every employee is entitled to lawful treatment. If the employee feels discontented with the decision, they have the right to claim unfair dismissal.
Gross misconduct appeals and disputes
If you have proof that you did not receive a fair and decent investigation into your actions, you are eligible to sue for unfair dismissal.
To qualify for claiming unfair dismissal, you must have been an employee of the company for two or more years. However, if you have less than two years in practice, you can still qualify to claim for unfair dismissal if you can prove:
- the discharge was connected to illegal prejudice.
- you were betrayed, or a case of whistleblowing
- you were acting in accordance to trade union activities
Effect of gross misconduct on future employment
‘Reason for leaving your previous job’ is always a frequent question that pops up on applications and in job interviews. It is rarely easy to answer why someone has left a secure job or a reputable company without raising eyebrows.
So, you made a grave error in judgment and lost your job through gross misconduct. What do you do next?
Get back up on the horse
You have likely been through a stressful and upsetting period after the loss of your job. This does not have to be the end of the road for you. Finding opportunities, and eventually, a new job is the best way to recover after getting the sack.
2. Get a basic reference
Of course, your former employer does not have to give you a reference but if they do, it needs to be honest and fair.
You may have avoided requesting one in fear that it may reflect on you badly, but you can always ask for a basic reference. This is a simple detail of your former job title, salary, and dates of employment. Doing this will mean you have something to give to potential new employers and it will not look like you are hiding something from them.
3. Be honest
It makes no sense to lie or sidestep the truth about why you left your previous job. Yes, by doing this, you risk your application being overlooked. However, by lying – you can run the risk of being sacked again if your new employer uncovers the truth later.
4. Be contrite
Being remorseful ties in with integrity, These are two precious traits that you will want to bring to the interview room or in the application process. Trying to elude blame is not proficient. Showing that you have learned, and grown from your mistakes is human, professional, and will most likely increase your chances of getting hired.
5. Consider a Career Change
After getting the sack from one job, it could be an excellent time to reassess what you want out of your professional life. You may have found out that the career path is not as intriguing as you thought it might be.
You can seek assistance from the National Careers Service who will be able to offer information about gaining new and relevant qualifications. Besides, the UK government offers loans and grants to older learners seeking new skills to change or further their careers.
6. Seek Advice
Looking after your finances and future career prospects is essential following a dismissal. However, looking after your wellbeing is vital too. Losing your source of income may cause you mental instability. Some people lose appetite and cut weight due to the stress. Engaging in stress-free physical activities and being around people you love goes a long way to reduce chances of depression.
If you are finding it difficult to cope emotionally, then reach out to your friends and family for guidance. If possible, contact a counseling helpline. This could serve to hold you together as you look to get back on your feet.
For most, a job can be an emotional and financial lifeline. Losing your much-needed source of income can throw your life into turmoil and cause instability.
If you have been dismissed due to gross misconduct, then reach out to an expert legal professional. Do this to ensure that you have been treated fairly and legally. If not, then an employment solicitor will be able to provide information on how to launch a claim for unfair dismissal.
Also remember, if you accept that you made an error and were in the wrong, this does not spell the end of your career. Don’t just sit back and allow the stress to consume you. By following the above tips, you will be back on the road to fruitful employment in no time.