DISCIPLINARY ISSUES OUTSIDE WORK AND DISMISSAL
Is it possible for employers to consider taking disciplinary actions against employees for their behaviour outside of work and working hours?
There have been numerous Employment Tribunal cases, which have been upheld for employer’s decisions to dismiss employees for incidents outside of work.
To do this you must follow a reasonable investigative and disciplinary process and reach a “reasonable decision” but let’s look at what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
Conduct Outside of Work
Case law shows that it is possible for an employer to dismiss fairly an employee for conduct outside of work. The key issue for employers to consider is whether or not the employee’s misconduct goes to the core employment relationship, or affects their ability to do their job.
Here are a few examples:
- An employee who is charged with assault or selling drugs clearly potentially impacts on the reputation of your salon and you can’t just ignore it happening. It would be perfectly reasonable to challenge the employee and investigate the circumstances before deciding if there was a disciplinary issue. An employee fined for not paying their TV license is probably an entirely different kettle of fish
- Similarly, if you discovered your Manager had been charged and convicted of a serious fraud naturally it impacts on your ability to trust them in charge of your till and stock. It would be totally unrealistic to consider that because the offences took place outside of work you had to ignore them. On the other hand a stylist getting 3 points on their driving licence for speeding doesn’t really impact on their ability to do the job or impact on the Business. Even a short prison sentence wouldn’t automatically result in dismissal, it really is judge each case on its merits.
- Social media issues are of particular concern and relevance and cases have kept Employment Tribunals busy over recent years. An employee making threatening or obscene comments on social media about the salon or its clients would be liable to disciplinary action and dismissal. In a case where none of the comments actually named the salon it would be far less clear.
Gemma Kelly has worked in HR for 15 years and has received the CIPD Level 7 Award in Employment Law, as well as a Masters Degree in Legal Practice, the Legal Practice Course qualifying as a Trainee Solicitor, and a Law Degree with Honours.
Gemma has excelled within several different departments and specialises in drafting employment documentation, carrying out employment status checks and support with disciplinary and grievance meetings. Gemma also deals with more complex employment issues such as redundancy, TUPE, settlement agreements, managing employee absenteeism and restrictive covenants to help prevent the poaching of staff or clients and to prevent employees from working in direct competition post-employment.
Areas where we can help you:
- Contracts of Employment/ Employee Handbooks
- Apprenticeship agreements/contracts Maternity
- Staff leaving/being poached
- Restrictive Covenants
- Training agreements
- Fire Risk Assessments
- Health & Safety policies
- Employment tribunals
- Employed/Self-Employed status?
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