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Repeated Misconduct

Published April 1, 2015 (last updated on June 28, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


Repeated misconduct amongst employees is something that a lot of employers in Australia struggle to manage correctly. Often, it can be a difficult task adhering to the correct processes and procedures for repeated misconduct, as it is a frustrating thing to deal with and can be detrimental to normal business functionality. However, it is important for employers to accurately observe the stipulations around handling repeated misconduct and act accordingly.

What is repeated misconduct?

As its name suggests, repeated misconduct is the continued transgression of an employee from their expected professional behaviour. This can cover a wide range of different aspects to their time at work, whether it be being late or absent, intentionally underperforming or acting inappropriately in the workplace. It is important to note though that for acts of misconduct to be deemed as repeated misconduct, you must have previously given them ample opportunity to improve.

How to handle repeated misconduct

While it can be tempting to immediately end an employee’s employment following an instance of repeated misconduct, it is important that you handle the situation appropriately. You should warn your employee in writing at least once before ending their employment. This written notice should be detailed and include specific information around the reasons for their dismissal and description of their repeated misconduct.

In some cases, repeated misconduct may be serious enough to illicit a first and final warning – that being, the instance is so serious that there is no possibility for redemption following a warning. In other cases, there may be the opportunity to provide a warning to which the employee must improve from.

If you do use warnings:

  • Be clear about the reason for the warning

  • Write down all of the details

  • Explain what you expect to be done differently

  • Follow clear procedures before dismissing them

Even though an employee’s repeated misconduct may not be bad enough to be considered serious misconduct, the fact that they keep doing it could end up hurting your business and is representation of their non-committal to appropriate behaviour. Therefore, it is important that you take action on repeated misconduct. However, it is important to remember that you only dismiss an employee if they take part in serious misconduct or repeated offences, and you do so in a way that adheres to what is outlined above. If you fail to take action in the appropriate manner, you may find that you have a claim made against you and are taken to the Fair Work Commission.

Peninsula can advise you on managing repeated misconduct and dismissal. If you have any questions about repeated misconduct, please call us for peace of mind on our 24-hour Advice Line on 1300 651 415.

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