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Don't let employee misconduct derail your business

Dealing with Misconduct and Resulting Terminations

How to fire for employee misconduct fairly and legally. Procedure and forms.

Despite an employee's grave misconduct, the employer and the human resource department often find themselves inadequately equipped to handle such individuals. Employers must develop guidelines so managers and Human Resource professionals can handle misconduct in a consistent, efficient and fair manner.

Implications of misconduct

How do you define misconduct? There are several ways. Some types of misconduct are not too serious while others are grave enough to force management to fire an employee. Some forms of misconduct include intentional breaking of rules, fraud against the company, working while drunk or drugged, having drugs in ones possession and violating the company’s code of conduct. Other types of misconduct involve other people like undignified behavior towards coworkers or higher authority or behavior that may affect the reputation of other employees or the company.

Principles associated with misconduct

First, the employer or the management must allow the employee a chance to explain his or her behavior. Once the employee has had his or her say, management can decide whether the employee is guilty of misconduct serious enough for termination. At the same time, the manager should keep all information confidential. No one but the manager, the manager's supervisor and the Human Resources Department need to know the details. It is important for the manager to remain professional. Besides having a chance to explain of matter, the manager should allow the accused employee to have a person to support him or her at the meetings. Someone from Human Resources is usually a good choice.

Procedures involved

Sometimes misconduct is very serious. In such cases, management needs to conduct a preliminary investigation. Once the company has completed the investigation, the manager should make the employee aware of the findings. Once again, the manager can ask for the employee's side of the story. Using this evidence, management, with the help of a Human Resources representative, must decide what to do. They must decide how they should discipline the employee or whether they should fire the worker.

Steps involved in misconduct

There are three steps involved in a case of misconduct by an employee. First, the employer should coach the employee when the misconduct occurs. The manager should explain what the employee did wrong and how to fix future behavior. The next step is a formal warning. The manager will have to issue one of these to the employee when he or she repeats the inappropriate behavior thus ignoring the manager. Finally when this fails, the employer can choose to terminate the employee.

When Mr. Betts completed his guidebook, terminations became much easier for us.

You must stop tolerating employee misconduct. Here's why.

Giving Proper Reasons for Firing an Employee Help Avoid Legal Problems


Letting an employee go may be fraught with many problems and correlating legalities. Even “at will” employees who understand that they may lose their job at any time may have legal recourse if your reasons for firing an employee are invalid.

Therefore, it is well to review some of the reasons for firing an employee. Some of these include:

*Misbehavior or rudeness toward clients or customers
*Drunkenness or substance abuse on-the-job
*Theft of company property
*Frequent and unexplained absences from work
*Entering false information on records
*Gross insubordination
*Incompetence or failure to respond to training
*Fighting or other physical aggression
*Sexual harassment
*Verbal abuse
*Using company property for personal business

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