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Misconduct and gross misconduct disciplinary letter templates

2-minute read

Important business documents and data
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

26 October 2023

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Small businesses need to have a process in place for misconduct and gross misconduct disciplinary meetings.

Using misconduct and gross misconduct meeting letter templates and examples can help you make sure you're following the right steps.

Read on to find out what constitutes gross misconduct in the workplace, examples of gross misconduct, and how your business can handle misconduct smoothly.

What is misconduct?

Anything defined as ‘misbehaviour’ by an employee can be classed as misconduct.

Usually, there are three types of misconduct, depending on how serious the misbehaviour is. These are general misconduct, serious misconduct, and gross misconduct.

What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is when your employee’s behaviour damages their relationship with you beyond repair.

It can open the pathway to rapid dismissal, without notice or pay in-place of notice, but you’ll need to follow a legal, fair process.

What’s the difference between misconduct and gross misconduct?

It depends on how serious the misconduct is. For example, regularly arriving late, inappropriate clothing, or general ‘time-wasting’ would usually constitute general or serious misconduct.

Gross misconduct examples

So, what counts as gross misconduct at work? Here are a few examples:

  • serious health and safety rule breaches
  • intoxication at work
  • theft (and other criminal conduct)
  • money laundering and taking bribes
  • violence

Misconduct letter templates

In any misconduct scenario, clarity is key. Setting the position and next steps out in a legal letter format will help you, your employee, a court or tribunal, and anyone else involved to understand the process you’re following.

Informal discussion letter template

If your employee’s behaviour is deemed as misconduct, such as arriving late or not meeting your dress code, it can be beneficial to have an informal discussion first.

This can help you to resolve the issue without taking formal action. The informal discussion letter template sets out the basic details of the meeting, including:

  • when and where it’ll take place
  • who’ll be at the meeting
  • the issues you’re planning to discuss

The letter should also explain that the meeting isn’t part of the formal disciplinary process, but make clear that formal action could be taken if the behaviour being discussed continues.

Gross misconduct meeting letter template

If you need to call a meeting with a member of staff to discuss allegations of gross misconduct, you’ll need to send them a letter.

A customisable disciplinary letter template allows you to explain to the employee that allegations have been made against them, or that following their suspension you’re calling a meeting to discuss their behaviour.

You should include the following information in the letter:

  • basic details of the meeting, such as time, location, and who’ll be attending
  • a full overview of the gross conduct allegations made against the member of staff
  • how the employee can submit relevant documents and call witnesses to the meeting
  • what’ll happen if they’re found guilty of gross misconduct, in line with your disciplinary policy

You’ll also need to outline any relevant documents or witness statements you’ve already received, while it’s good practice to attach a copy of your disciplinary policy to the letter.

What are the other types of gross misconduct letter?

As well as the letter to call a gross misconduct meeting, these are some of the letters you may need to send to employees as part of your disciplinary procedure:

  • suspension pending investigation letter
  • no further action letter (after disciplinary meeting)
  • no further action letter (after suspension and investigation)
  • gross misconduct dismissal letter
  • invitation to appeal hearing
  • decision on appeal against dismissal letter

General or serious misconduct letters

If a member of staff has committed general or serious misconduct, these are some of the letters you may need to send them:

  • no further action letter (after informal meeting)
  • first written warning letter (plus guidance around the second written warning)
  • final or second written warning letter
  • misconduct dismissal letter
  • invitation to appeal hearing
  • decision on appeal against dismissal letter
  • no further right of appeal letter

The gross misconduct meeting – what can I expect?

If you’re satisfied that there are grounds for gross misconduct, you may wish to start proceedings by suspending your employee (on full pay).

Sometimes this isn’t necessary, and your first step will be to send them an invite to a disciplinary hearing for gross misconduct.

At the meeting itself, you’ll cover these key areas:

  • explaining the format and purpose
  • clarifying the allegations
  • giving an opportunity to explain
  • next steps

Use our disciplinary policy guide for details on how to run the agenda, and invite others to attend – noting that employees have a right to be accompanied in these meetings.

More small business HR guides

We strongly advise you to take expert legal advice, before and throughout, in case of any fall-out from misconduct proceedings.

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Photo: Chaosamran_Studio/
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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