When bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan found that a staff member had included a racial slur on an invoice, targeting a particular customer, they were unsurprisingly dismissed for gross misconduct.

The operator was at pains to point out that they do not discriminate on any grounds, including that of race or colour, a position which applies to both staff and customers. Clearly this incident had the potential to escalate into a PR disaster for the business, and needed to be dealt with quickly.

Serious misconduct can result in the employer giving a first and final warning, but for gross misconduct (which covers acts such as theft, violence or gross negligence), dismissal can be immediate. However this cannot be done without first investigating the employee’s behaviour in a fair manner, and giving them the opportunity to reply to an allegation.

Should you find yourself in a position where you need to carry out disciplinary proceedings against a member of staff, regardless of how clear cut the evidence against them seems, it is essential to follow the proper procedure to protect your business against potential unfair dismissal claims.

To understand the steps that you need to follow to keep your disciplinary procedures legal, download our free guide by signing up below.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.