Gross misconduct does not mean automatic dismissal

1st October 2013

In the event of an act of gross misconduct by one of your employees, you should not automatically assume that the only reasonable sanction to impose is dismissal.

In the recent case of Brito-Babapulle v Ealing Hospital NHS Trust UKEAT/0358/12, the Employment Appeal Tribunal confirmed that where an employee is found to have committed an act of gross misconduct their employer should always consider all of the relevant circumstances of the case before deciding to dismiss the employee.

You should take into account the nature of the misconduct and any mitigating factors such as the employee’s long service, the consequences of dismissal and any previously unblemished record.

Adam Pike, Employment Law Solicitor at Ansons Solicitors said,

“This is a reminder to employers that the test of reasonableness will still apply when they make a decision to dismiss an employee, even if that employee’s conduct constitutes gross misconduct. If the employee is dismissed without proper consideration of all the circumstances there is a risk that a claim for unfair dismissal could be upheld by the Employment Tribunal.”