FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee be dismissed during their notice period for gross misconduct?

Date: Friday, 21st September, 2018

If an employee is dismissed or resigns they’ll most likely stay at work for their notice period, as agreed or outlined in their contract of employment. For some employees this can be a difficult time, as they can loose motivation or feel awkward working in an environment after they have been dismissed.

If an employee were to do anything which is classed as gross misconduct, contrary to some beliefs an employer CAN terminate an employee, even during their notice period as long as the proper process is followed. Giving notice that you are ending the employment relationship does not change the employer’s right to independently end the relationship first if it is appropriate.

Is it worth it?

In practice, dismissing an employee on their notice period is very rare and is usually not worth the expense and possibility of legal action. Employers cannot make any deductions to pay in respect of time already worked due to an employee leaving before their notice period is up, unless this is specifically allowed by the employment contract.

If you dismiss someone without following the proper disciplinary process you could be subject to an unfair dismissal claim. If this was they case, a tribunal could drag on for months.

With this in mind if you are considering dismissing an employee for gross misconduct whilst they are on their notice period, it would be important to consider the individual situation and the cost and time implications to the business of each case and therefore in these instances we would always recommend seeking professional HR advice.

If you would like HR guidance on any issues you may have in your business get in touch.

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