Serious Misconduct, what’s it all mean?
Serious Misconduct In The Workplace and how it applies has become more controversial as 2022 progresses. Vaccine issues, booster shots, return to work orders, working from home. Restructures, redundancies, workplaces have changed for ever. What’s it all mean?. We will attempt to unravel serious misconduct, now in 2022 the employers preference for termination, as its the cheapest. However it is the hardest for employer to prove. However when monies involved, companies wanting to improve their bottom line, they will take their chances.
The term ‘serious misconduct’ is something that is thrown around by employers way too much in the employment sphere.
You may have heard it during a termination or when your employer is threatening your employment. ‘Serious misconduct’ is actually a legal term that will allow for employers to terminate /dismiss you on that basis. This can bar you from receiving your normal entitlements when you exit your employment. For example. When you are correctly dismissed for serious misconduct. You will be stripped from your entitlements to annual leave, long service leave, notice period. In the case a company is going through a downsizing or restricting, any redundancy pay you might have been owed but for the alleged serious misconduct.
However, since employers know that they can significantly reduce the costs of having to terminate your employment by saying that it was for ‘serious misconduct’. They may wrongfully do this and unlawfully strip you of your rightful entitlements. Employers, especially in tough periods and situations, will rely on this method to drive their wages down and reduce payroll to save them some money.
Thus, it is very important for you to know and determine whether your dismissal was likely for ‘serious misconduct’ or for mere misconduct.
Now you understand there is a crucial difference. The Fair Work Commission decisions are very clear on the very high bar employers must meet to satisfy ‘serious misconduct’ of an employee. Some examples are provided, but are not limited to these:
– Physical or verbal assault
– Intoxication or illicit substance abuse at work
– Blatant disrespect for lawful and reasonable orders.
_ Sexual harassment (Fairwork Act,2009 recently amended)
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but it could give you some flavor on whether your misconduct is more similar to a regular mishap in the workplace or something more onerous against the employer. Serious reputation damage, social media issues, conflict of interest are also reasons cited
The reason for this article, is the extraordinary amount of employees who now search this word / phase on our advertising campaigns.
In these tough economic times times some employers will resort to whatever it takes to reducing cost, avoiding redundancy etc as already mentioned. Dismissal for any reason is a career impediment, or an inhibitor to getting another job, this need to be corrected.
Serious Misconduct In The Workplace
I have reedited the article as of the 15/3/2022. The reason being the large amounts of enquires and dismissals due to the Xmas party season and now the opening up of the economy and the returning to work. This year it seems particularly high. My theory is after the various states getting out of lock down, employees actually having to go back to work. That employees are going nuts, wild, whatever, glad to be out there. Nothing wrong with that, I’m not the fun police. But established codes of conduct still apply. Drunkenness’, sexual harassment, offensive behaviour etc, will lead to dismissal for serious misconduct if your not careful.
Stress of the pandemic has take a huge human toll
Also the lockdowns, the stress of the pandemic has take a huge human toll on many, many supervisors, managers are now cranky. They are lacking a sense of humor, so in some cases behavioral issues, jokes, innuendo, was overlooked in the past is no longer tolerated. so be careful.
Also after some near two years lockdown, companies, people are not the same , some are better, some worse. Companies are watching their expenses like never before. Why pay for office space when your employees can work from home. However the employer is still stuck with a on going lease, and in turn has to reduce the cost somehow. We have had feedback of employees forced to assemble goods at home, or act as a pick up or delivery point to reduce cost.
So if a company can dismiss you for serious misconduct, notice does not have to be paid, long service leave is not paid, bonus in many cases do not apply or forfeited. They will do it.
We are A Whole New Approach P/L, we are not lawyers, but leading workplace advisors. 30 years experience, leaders in workplace commentary and justice for employees, we are here for you.
Serious Misconduct In The Workplace
Hope you found the article “Serious Misconduct In The Workplace” informative. The article was relatively brief, I wanted to sharply as I could to bring this issue to your attention. So if you get that call, “you have been suspended, stay at home”. “We will let you know what’s going on, can’t tell you at the moment”. “There will be a workplace investigation we’ll be in touch”. You know where all this is going.
Employees turn up with the thinking of day by day, do a good job and go home. There’s that adage “a fair days work for a fair days pay”. Employers plot and plan where they want to be. In some / many cases that doesn’t include you and there’s the door. More and more employers are hiding behind the Zoom. They don’t have to see you in person, look you in the eye, be a human being, a person of decency about it. You may think I’m over reacting, I’m not. I get the calls, I get the stories, the breakdowns, the stress of employees that you can literally measure over the phone.
Call us at 1800 333 666 to receive a free consultation. Whether we think your dismissal or pending dismissal may not have been or will be for ‘serious misconduct’. Explore your options, our advice is prompt, honest, and we will not mislead you. We work in all states, NSW, Qld, Victoria, Tas, SA, WA, NT. All Fair work Commission matters, including abandonment of employment issues, being falsely accused of sexual harassment, probation, constructive dismissal, redundancy, casual employees.
An article that may interest you, social media and misconduct click here
An article on serious misconduct and workplaces click here
How much is my case worth, click here
Serious misconduct dismissal due to COVID19, click here
One of the nations leading workplace advisors, representatives and commentators. Gary has represented some 12,000 clients over some 20 plus years, published some 300 plus articles. He is passionate about employees rights and the test of fairness in the workplace. Have a problem, concern, wants to contribute to the debate or research, call him directly.