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Many incidents of misconduct can be dealt with at an informal level without the need to invoke formal disciplinary proceedings against an individual – sometimes a few stern words do the trick! However, where misconduct is more serious or you are dealing with a persistent offender, it is important to take formal action and get events on record, so that you can refer back to it if necessary in the future.

Do you need an employment solicitor to help you with a disciplinary procedure?

Employees who are guilty of misconduct can rightly be disciplined for this – as long as the disciplinary process is carried out fairly and any contractual and / or statutory obligations are adhered to.

Proceed with care!

If you are going to give an employee a conduct warning, you need to follow the procedure carefully. If you get the procedure wrong it could result in a finding of unfair dismissal against you, as well as enhanced compensation payments. We have more information on disciplinary procedures here.

Some common examples of misconduct are:

  • Disruptive behaviour at work
  • Misuse of company property
  • Swearing or bring verbally abusive

Disciplinary policy

Employers are required by law to set out details of their disciplinary and grievance policies. It is useful to set out clearly within these policies examples of the type of behaviour will be considered misconduct, and what type of behaviour is considered so serious that it is gross misconduct. Warning your staff from the outset about what behaviour will not be tolerated will help you if any future dispute should arise. However, the examples must be reasonable. It may be unreasonable, for example, to say that being involved in a minor disagreement with a colleague would be considered gross misconduct. However, if the employee threatened physical violence or was actually physically violent towards the colleague during the course of the disagreement, this may reasonably be considered gross misconduct.

Finally, employers should always be sure that any action they take complies with any contractual obligations relating to disciplinary matters. Failure to do so could result in an employee bringing a claim for breach of contract against them.


Please ensure that, in dealing with issues relating to misconduct, you do not either intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against your employees on discriminatory grounds such as age, sex, race, disability, religion, or sexuality. If you have any concerns relating to these issues you should take advice.

Contact Ironmonger Curtis with Bell & Buxton Employment Solicitors for further information.

For business law advice call 0114 249 59 69


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