Handling Misconduct Outside The Workplace

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Please don’t fall into the trap of believing that if an employee commits an act of misconduct outside of the workplace, even if the Police have been involved, you can automatically take disciplinary action.

The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures state that where a criminal offence has been committed “consideration needs to be given to what effect the charge or conviction has on the employee’s suitability to do the job and their relationship with their employer, work colleagues and customers”.

An employer needs to consider whether the act of misconduct makes the individual unsuitable for the work they are carrying out, taking into account all the facts and details around the specific situation.

Misconduct that involves dishonesty, theft, violence or sexual misconduct would probably affect the relationship between the employee and the employers for one of the following reasons:
  1. The nature of the employee’s role requires a high level of honesty and integrity.
  2. The individual works with children or vulnerable adults.
  3. The individual works in a senior role in the business and there has been a high level of negative publicity in the press and social media and the Company has been named.
However, an administrator who loses their licence for drunk driving and who is not required to drive in their administrative role would probably not warrant disciplinary action.

Whatever action you decide to take, this should only happen following a detailed investigation to consider whether the employee’s actions are serious enough to invoke your disciplinary procedure.

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