Serious misconduct occurs when an employee behaves in a way that is inappropriate or dangerous, which suggests that the employee no longer intends to be bound by the employment contract. Because of this, the employer is justified in summarily (immediately) dismissing the employee without notice and the employee may forfeit certain owing entitlements – such as long service leave.
Serious misconduct often involves behaviour that creates a risk for:
• the health and safety of employees or visitors to the workplace; or
• the reputation and profitability of the business.
Examples of behaviour that have been found to amount to serious misconduct include theft, fraud, assault, intoxication and refusing to carry out an employer’s lawful instruction.