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Does dishonesty warrant dismissal for serious misconduct?

Q: Without getting into the particulars, if an employee engages in dishonest behaviour that could damage the reputation of the company and then continues to lie about this, would this count as serious misconduct for dishonesty?

A: A definition of ‘serious misconduct’ is included in regulation 1.07 of the Fair Work Regulations 2009. This definition includes conduct that causes serious and imminent risk to the reputation of an employer’s business, as well as wilful or deliberate behaviour by an employee that is inconsistent with the continuation of the employment contract.

Whether certain conduct will constitute serious misconduct will depend on the circumstances. Essentially, you need to be satisfied that the employee’s conduct would make it unreasonable to keep them employed in the role.

If you determine that an employee is guilty of serious misconduct, you should still give them a chance to respond to any allegations before terminating their employment.

Also, read through the Employment Law Practical Handbook dismissal chapters (both Unfair Dismissal and Dismissal) and Workplace Investigations to ensure your process is correct.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Dismissal and Misconduct for current advice.

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