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Termination due to employee misconduct

Termination due to misconduct is a serious disciplinary action that should be carefully considered. Employers must conduct a formal inquiry before taking any disciplinary action.

What is misconduct

Misconduct is the failure to fulfil the conditions of employment in the contract of service. Examples include theft, dishonesty, disorderly or immoral conduct at work and insubordination.

If an employee has committed an act of misconduct, the employer should conduct an inquiry before deciding whether to dismiss an employee or to take other forms of disciplinary action.

Holding an inquiry

There is no fixed procedure for an inquiry, but as a general guide:

  • The person hearing the inquiry should not be in a position which may suggest bias.
  • An employee who is being investigated for misconduct should have the opportunity to present their case.

In accordance with the Employment Act, the employer may suspend the employee from work during an inquiry:

  • The suspension period cannot exceed 1 week.
  • The employee should be paid at least half their salary during suspension.

Actions after an inquiry

If the inquiry establishes a case of misconduct, the employer may do one of the following:

  • Instantly downgrade the employee
  • Instantly suspend the employee from work without pay, for not more than 1 week.
  • Terminate employment without notice, and no salary in lieu of notice will be paid.

If no misconduct is found, the employer must restore the full amount of any salary that was withheld during the suspension period.