How much could your business save? Find out now!
Or, you can call us on: 0800 411 8830

Unfair dismissal for gross misconduct: an SME guide


Employment law can be very tricky for small businesses and getting it wrong can prove costly. Simple advice can save you substantial amounts of time and money.

Any disciplinary policy you have should be followed it to the letter, says Stephanie Kleyman from Kleyman & Co solicitors. If you don’t have a policy, look on ACAS’s website for guidance and follow their standard policy,” she advises. “Make sure that your employee is notified before every meeting of their right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative, and ensure you make reasonable provision to accommodate this.”

After every meeting, make sure you confirm everything in writing to the employee.

Grounds for dismissal

If you feel that the evidence against the employee is sufficient to justify taking action – especially summary dismissal for gross misconduct – you must be certain that this is the only reasonable course of action in the circumstances.

“You will need to take into account all the evidence, good and bad, from the employee’s length of service and previous track record through to the offence itself,” Kleyman advises.

How to dismiss an employee

Ideally your disciplinary policy will set out a list of the types of acts or omissions that amount to gross misconduct, such as theft, assault or fraud, so check this situation against that list.

If you decide you have to summarily dismiss the employee for gross misconduct, make sure they are notified as soon as possible both verbally and in writing. Advise them of their right to appeal, giving details of how long they have and who they should appeal to.

Make careful notes as you go through the process and make sure you keep them safe along with copies of all letters sent.

If in any doubt at all, consult a solicitor.  While the cost may seem high, weigh the spend on employment legal advice against the expense of lengthy legal proceedings and possible damages paid to your former employee.

Related Articles

working from home

Can I have a business energy contract if I work from home?

The gig economy is showing no signs of slowing down and micro businesses are thriving, with 76% of UK business...

Read More
New design electricity pylon used in Nottingham

Energy News – 21/04/17

What with the announcement of a snap election and all the ensuing shenanigans it’s certainly not been a quie...

Read More
eco trees image

Earth Day Brainteaser – can you find the footprint?

Can you find the foot amongst the leaves? Challenge yourself with our brainteaser, created to celebrate Earth ...

Read More
Excellent, 9.7 / 10

Very easy

"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."

This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017

Super helpful and easy to work with

"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."

This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017

An Extremely Competent Company

"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."

This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017

Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!

"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"

This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017

Quick & Easy

"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."

This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017