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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7617
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I have an employee who has nearly caused this business to close

Resolved Question:

I have an employee who has nearly caused this business to close due to her actions

I would like to discipline her fpor gross misconduct - but need some help

07929 768316

Lynn Steele
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.

Hello Lynn,


Thank you for your question.


I am afraid Just Answer prohibits contact outside of the service of the website (though I am impressed that you managed to get your mobile number down without the moderators redacting it!).


What would you like to know about? Disciplinary/Dismissal procedures? What is the nature of the misconduct?


Kind regards,




Customer: replied 7 years ago.

My firm has nearly gone out of business - I am not sure how many words - I have a full dossier - but it is difficult to talk during office hours - as staff are around.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Re my most senior member of staff. Last year - her actions regards XXXXX XXXXX clients meant that we had to resign from the licensing network ( as the reports were not to the required standard - they were all missing spouses date of birth and we have a moral duty to take the spouse into account in all cases - even were we dont give the advice) . I took responsibility for this - however I have always blamed her. I did some further training and put processes in place to ensure it wouldnt happen again. The network issued an exit letter - explaining how and what we would need to do to leave - which came into the office - but I never saw it. I have trusted her since - although in hindsight I am not sure why. I have asked for this letter as it details the action we are meant to take to comply with the leaving. On resignation we applied for a licence to trade direct with the FSA. Whenever I have asked for letters etc - I have been told that everything is in hand- and not to worry. She had taken the letter home. I insisted it come back into the office and I wanted to see it. I went on holiday in January 2010 - and I was concerned that I felt that I didn't know what was happening in my business with regards XXXXX XXXXX application and the leaving requirements; and also she had tried to have two members of staff sacked in December - and one had put in a victimisation claim against her - which I had to resolve. Again I was assured that all was well with the letters - and staff now no problem - and to go on holiday. On my return I asked re the letters - and told that everything was done ; regards XXXXX XXXXX members she had contacted me on holiday to say there was problem - which had escalated to a ridiculous degree - on my return. I investigated the problem and found that it was her managerial skills which were lacking and the staff had not been trained properly - which was her responsibility. Regards XXXXX XXXXX : I insisted that I wanted to see the letters - and these were given to me on the 22 Feb - only 3 days prior to our departure date. When I got the letter I realised that we were not in a position to comply with anything. We have therefore suffered a breach and the FSA have not yet processed our licence - as questions raised in my absence were not answered. In addition to this when I returned from holiday - the Government were to run a seminar with me regards XXXXX XXXXX and I found that she had only emailed 20 guests - they will only turn out for a min of 30 - so I have to spend three days - calling people to get attendee numbers up. The other guest speaker - she had given the wrong date to - so this costs additional money in transport and hotel bills - for someone to change their plans last minute to meet our agenda. On top of that the problems with the other staff members caused a backlog of work on my desk - to get to the bottom of the problems. Last week I had to re-write the letter to clients informing them of our departure from the network : only to find the database was incomplete ( her responsibility - and she had assured me this was up to date) - and we have now suffered a further breach. The files she assured me had been scanned in January -when only half had. Last week she asked unqualified and unlicensed staff members to send out 'advice' letters. In addition she booked staff out to run a training course - leaving 1 junior member of staff in the office. Then she has come to me today - to say she feels our business is at risk - with no FSA licence to trade ( it is still being processed) and will be looking for a new job. I take responsibility for allowing her to go full steam ahead as I trusted her - but I think this has now all fallen down - and the only reason we are currently at riosk - pending our licence is becuase of her actions. What options do I have if I want to get rid of her?
Expert:  Thomas replied 7 years ago.

Hi Lynn,


Right. The examples you give are really more to do with a lack of capability to perfrm her job rather than misconduct. Misconduct relates more to matters like theft from employer, using trade secrets, confidentiality breaches, unfitness for duty due to alcohol/drugs, failure to carry out a management instruction within their capability, incompetance or damage to property at work.


The majority of examples you give sounds more like a lack of skill/aptitude to do her job - she's attempting to do her job, but she's doing her job very very badly. Employer may onlydismiss employee's without notice in cases of gross misconduct and must be very careful in doing so because if it is subsequently found that it is not gross misconduct then you will be punished at a tribunal for not following the statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures in place.


Admitaddly there are some examples you give which sniff of incompetance but because of the risk of an employment tribunal not agreeing that it constituted gross misconduct then I would try discipline her on the ground of a lack of capability to do her job. You can use those examples that border on incompetance in pursuing her for a lack of capability.


I would strongly advise you to follow the statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedures in this case andd so on capability grounds (ie. her lack of skill). ACAS has lots of useful information for employers about taking such disciplanary action, information here:-


Note the guidance notes at the bottom of the web page.


It will probably seem that you are being more reasonable with her than she has any right to expect given her poor job performance but, in the end, it will be you as employer who is likely to suffer if you do not follow them.


If you cannot talk during work I would recommend calling ACAS (it's free) out of office hours on 0845 47 47 47.


You could try talking to her and say that you do not thinking it's working out, she may then offer to resign there and then and it's a problem solved. Otherwise I'd follow the statutory procedure.


If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will be gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,




Note the guidance notes at the bottom of the webpage relating to discipline at work.


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