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When can you dismiss a worker on grounds of gross misconduct?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2023 | Labor And Employment

Hiring and managing employees can be exciting. Unfortunately, this also means that you have to make some tough decisions. And one of these is dismissing an employee.

Mississippi, like other states, is an at-will state. However, you cannot fire an employee on illegal grounds. If you do, you may have an unlawful dismissal case to deal with. That said, one of the reasons you may dismiss an employee is gross misconduct. But what exactly does this mean?

Understanding gross misconduct

Basically, gross misconduct is any action or behavior exhibited by an employee that is deemed to be so bad that you can no longer have them in the organization. Such action or conduct usually undermines the employer-employee relationship and often amounts to a breach of the employment contract.

Here are employee actions or behaviors that can amount to gross misconduct:

Violence in the workplace

Any act of violence, intimidation or aggressive conduct (including harassment and physical bullying or threats of violence) at work is generally treated as gross misconduct. An employee who perpetrates these is a threat to co-workers and the organization’s overall culture. Such an employee can be dismissed from their role.

Theft and fraud

First of all, these are crimes both at the state and federal levels. Both theft and fraud lead to a loss for the organization. But that’s not all. They also strain the employer-employee relationship. Besides summary dismissal, an employee who commits theft or fraud can also face criminal charges.

Drug or alcohol abuse at work

Alcohol consumption or the use of illegal drugs while at work can cause serious problems. Firstly, this risks the employee and their co-workers’ well-being. And secondly, this puts the organization’s assets at risk.

Protecting your rights

Employee misconduct is a big deal. Knowing your legal rights can help you protect your organization’s interests while dismissing an employee on grounds of gross misconduct.