Got a Serious Misconduct? Don’t Delay!

In our April newsletter the hot topic was serious misconduct in the workplace and how to manage the process. This month, equally important on the topic of serious misconduct, is the timing.

One thing I really want to stress is the small window of time you have, to progress serious misconduct matters. As soon as you have cause to think you may have a serious misconduct matter to address, act while it is fresh. Too often we see employers who put it on the back burner. Three months later, when the employer tries to dredge up a serious misconduct matter (usually because they are now thoroughly sick and tired of the employee), it’s just too late. The end result is an uphill battle that can go horribly wrong.

The first piece of advice is to pick up the phone and get advice! Your HR advisor or employment lawyer can help you get started and guide you in what is required through each stage of the process.

No “ifs, buts or maybes”
Even the name “serious misconduct” should be the prompt for quick action. When you catalogue the behaviours that constitute serious misconduct they include lots of nasties that can have a very negative effect on your business – misappropriation; violence; wilful damage; falsification of time sheets; and employees under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol.

It should be obvious that a serious matter has to be dealt with now, not in three months’ time. In some cases of serious misconduct the police may need to be involved, but the HR process should progress at its own pace and shouldn’t be dependent on the police process.

If you find yourself in the situation of handling a serious misconduct, give us a call. Advice at the right time can go a long way, and we are here to help. If you would like to re-read our April article about how to manage a serious misconduct well, check it out here.

And one final piece of advice: do NOT sack the employee on the spot (even if your agreement says you can, and even if you really, really want to!).