Introduction to this document

Misconduct checklist

Use this checklist to help you deal with an employee’s misconduct. This will involve carrying out an investigation and then, if there is a case to answer, proceeding to a disciplinary hearing, after which you will need to consider the penalty and communicate your decision to the employee.

What is misconduct?

Misconduct is conduct which initially requires disciplinary action other than dismissal, such as a minor breach of company rules, policies and procedures, minor damage to company property, unsatisfactory attendance and/or poor timekeeping, unauthorised absence, and failure to meet appropriate and expected standards of work (though in such cases it may be more appropriate to use a capability procedure rather than a disciplinary procedure, depending on the nature of the failure). If further misconduct takes place, dismissal may ultimately be an appropriate sanction. Gross misconduct, on the other hand, is misconduct serious enough to destroy the employment contract between you and your employee, and irretrievably break down your working relationship and trust. Your disciplinary rules should indicate that such conduct may warrant summary dismissal, i.e. dismissal without notice.



Suspension during the disciplinary process may be appropriate, for example, where there is a risk of further misconduct or interference in the investigation, such as tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses. Although suspension should not be a knee-jerk reaction, it should be considered in serious cases and may help demonstrate your belief that sufficiently serious misconduct has taken place to justify a subsequent summary dismissal if that is the eventual outcome. However, before you take the decision to suspend, at least be relatively sure, or as sure as you can be, of the facts as presented, as you must have reasonable and proper cause to suspend the employee. Ideally, hold an initial interview with the accused employee to obtain their version of events and ensure you have some prima facie evidence to support the allegations. Also consider alternatives to suspension before taking the decision to suspend, such as moving the employee to another role or another location (with their agreement). If you do decide to suspend, separately document your reasons.


fair procedure

Our checklist sets out the steps necessary to help ensure that a fair disciplinary procedure is followed.