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We recognise the importance of a fair and effective disciplinary process for employers. Our legal experts are equipped to provide tailored advice and representation to navigate the complexities of workplace discipline. We are committed to guiding employers through each step of the disciplinary process, ensuring that it is conducted legally and effectively. This includes understanding the rights and obligations involved, handling communications sensitively, and maintaining procedural fairness.

Karena Nicholls

Karena Nicholls

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Serious Misconduct

Employers have the right to immediately (summarily) dismiss an employee if they have engaged in serious misconduct. Serious misconduct involves an employee intentionally acting in a way that is inconsistent with an employee’s contractual obligation, common law duties and a breach of an employer’s policies. Examples of this may include:

  • Safety breaches
  • Assault
  • Drugs and alcohol matters
  • Theft of company property

However, employers should be cautious when summarily dismissing employees. Sometimes the dismissal may be warranted, however, it may not be serious enough in nature to constitute immediate dismissal. The test is whether the reason for dismissal was sound, defensible or well-founded.

How can Coutts help you?

Managing disciplinary processes demands a delicate balance between adhering to legal protocols and ensuring a fair outcome. At Coutts, we are experts in providing strategic guidance for both employees and employers facing disciplinary challenges. In cases of serious misconduct, employers wield the right to immediate dismissal, but it must be supported by solid evidence and valid reasoning.

Our Employment Law team can help you navigate this, ensuring that your actions align with contractual obligations, common law duties, and established policies. We understand the nuances of assessing misconduct severity and the necessary steps for a well-founded dismissal. If you need assistance in disciplinary actions, rely on Coutts to safeguard your interests. Contact us today!

What to Expect with Coutts Lawyers

Step 1: Initial Contact

Reach out to Coutts Lawyers via our website, phone, or in person. Briefly describe your matter.

Step 2: Consultation Appointment

Schedule and attend a meeting with a Coutts lawyer / Conveyancer to discuss the specifics of your matter and desired outcomes.

Step 3: Information & Legal Advice

Share all related documents and information. Your lawyer / Conveyancer will review everything, clarify aspects as needed, and then advise on the best action course.

Step 4: Action Plan Development

Based on the advice, an appropriate action plan will be formulated. This may involve communication, documentation processes, or further legal steps.

Step 5: Implementation

Execute the action plan, addressing a range of legal scenarios as necessary.

Step 6: Resolution & Closure

Navigate towards a resolution, with the path determined by the nature of the matter. Your Lawyer / Conveyancer will outline any final actions or considerations.

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Introducing Karena

Your Compassionate Lawyer

Meet Karena, a Partner at Coutts Lawyers & Conveyancers, and the head of our esteemed Injury Compensation and Employment Law teams. With over two decades of experience in the field of Insurance Law, Karena’s passion, dedication, and client-focused approach have established her as a leading authority in compensation and employment law.

Karena Nicholls - Employment Expert
Karena Nicholls - Employment Expert

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Disciplinary Process FAQ’s

A disciplinary process is a formal procedure employers use to address alleged misconduct or performance issues, ensuring both the employer and employee are protected by clear guidelines during any action taken.

‘Serious misconduct’ is behaviour that intentionally breaches an employee’s contractual obligations, common law duties, or company policies. It can range from safety violations to theft and typically justifies immediate dismissal.

For less serious offences, employers might offer a verbal or written warning, provide additional training, or even establish a performance improvement plan, rather than proceed to immediate dismissal.

Yes, employees have the right to defend themselves against any allegations. It’s essential for employers to follow due process, allowing employees to provide their perspectives or evidence before any final decisions.

Legal consultation is crucial to ensure that the grounds for dismissal are sound, defensible, and compliant with employment law, reducing the risk of potential legal repercussions or claims of unfair dismissal.

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