Managing conduct
Managing conduct

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Managing conduct
  • The aims of conduct management
  • Codes of conduct
  • Investigating a problem
  • Discrimination
  • Potential reasons for misconduct
  • Disciplinary procedures

All employers want to get the best out of their employees. Managing how they behave in the workplace is a crucial element of this. Where standards slip employers need to be able to manage employees' conduct in order to allow them the opportunity to improve. If insufficient improvement is made, employers need to know how to take steps to deal with the situation fairly which may include dismissal.

The aims of conduct management

The principal aim of conduct management is to ensure that employees behave in a reasonable manner in the workplace.

If employers manage their employees well, the employees will be aware of:

  1. the standard of behaviour that is expected of them

  2. what behaviour will constitute misconduct and/or gross misconduct

  3. what disciplinary rules apply to them

In addition, if an employee's conduct is managed well, it should assist in defending a claim of unfair dismissal in the event that he is ultimately dismissed for misconduct (see Practice Note: Dismissing fairly for conduct reasons).

In circumstances where an employee's behaviour falls below the expected standard, the employer should first consider whether the reason for this is that the employee 'won't do' or 'can't do' what is expected:

  1. if it is a case of 'won't do', then the underlying reason will be misconduct, and the employer's disciplinary procedure should be followed (see the remainder