What Is Gross Misconduct?

Gross misconduct refers to a serious breach of trust between an employer and employee, resulting in immediate termination of the employment relationship.

What Is Considered Gross Misconduct in the Workplace?

Gross misconduct typically includes:

  • A single breach of significant seriousness, such as theft, deliberate breakage of equipment, breach of a confidentiality agreement, etc.
  • A less serious, repeated and voluntary breach, such as time theft, poor work attendance, insubordination, etc.

What Is the Penalty for Gross Misconduct?

The normal penalty for gross misconduct is dismissal without notice.

However, human resources professionals may choose to apply other types of sanctions on a case-by-case basis, as long as they respect company policies and the laws in place.

What Are Some Examples of Gross Misconduct?

Examples of gross misconduct in the workplace include:

  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Serious insubordination
  • Repeated absenteeism
  • Racist remarks
  • Violent behavior
  • Misrepresentation at the time of hiring
  • Refusal to comply with employer directives
  • Violating the dignity of co-workers
  • Lack of loyalty to the employer
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at work

What Is the Difference Between Misconduct and Gross Misconduct?

Gross misconduct results in summary dismissal. Simple misconduct generally results in disciplinary action, which may eventually lead to dismissal.

How Can an Employer Prove Employee Gross Misconduct?

An employer can show gross misconduct by:

  • Proving that there has been an escalation of sanctions against an employee in an attempt to correct their behavior, all to no avail.
  • Proving with supporting documents that the employee’s misconduct justifies summary dismissal.
  • Investigating the behavior and events surrounding the gross misconduct.

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