GROSS MISCONDUCT SUMMARY DISMISSAL: A REASONABLE RESPONSE?
Although gross misconduct is a potentially fair reason for dismissal, the burden of proof lies with the employer to demonstrate that gross misconduct was indeed the reason for dismissal and that it acted reasonably in treating it as sufficient reason for dismissing the employee.
COMPREHENSIVE SUPPORT AND ADVICE
A local retailer suspected that a member of staff in a position of trust was stealing from the company.
Querying some purchases that had been made by the employee from one of their suppliers, the employee realised their actions had been found out and took steps to repay the sums involved. Nevertheless, the trust was broken but the Directors were unsure of how to proceed.
Having already provided the company with a comprehensive disciplinary policy and procedure, that clearly identified theft and dishonesty as an offence that may justify dismissal, even on first offence, BHP Group provided comprehensive support through the entire disciplinary process, from immediate suspension of the employee whilst an investigation was carried out, through the disciplinary hearing to the outcome of summary dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct.
POSITIVE AND FAIR OUTCOMES FOR ALL
The situation was a difficult one for all involved but with the support of BHP Group, the employer was secure in the knowledge that they met the requirement to demonstrate that the decision to dismiss was one that a reasonable employer would have made and that it was both fair and reasonable in the circumstances.