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29 April 2014 0 Comments
Posted in Employment, Opinion

What is gross misconduct?

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

In Eastland Homes Partnership Limited v Cunningham, the EAT has overturned a Tribunal finding of unfair dismissal where the employee of a residential care home was dismissed for failing to tell the employer that he and his wife were named beneficiaries in the will of one of the residents. Although the code of conduct was not available to the EAT, it appeared from the Tribunal judgment that it prohibited staff from accepting gifts in excess of £50 and suggesting that any benefits received should be declared and approved by management. The Tribunal judgement contained no analysis as to why it considered the employee’s actions did not amount to gross misconduct in circumstances where they were a breach of the care home’s code of conduct.

The EAT suggested that Tribunals need to provide an analysis on the facts of the case as to what might amount to gross misconduct in the particular situation; and in this case why the Claimant’s conduct was not considered sufficiently serious to qualify, beyond merely providing a generic description of what gross misconduct comprises.

This is a useful case for employers in situations where they might have specific circumstances of an employee’s misconduct which in other situations might not amount to gross misconduct but in the particular circumstances of the work which the employee undertakes, would do so.

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222

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