Is it permissible to dismiss an employee on the grounds of misconduct that occurred outside the workplace?
It is permissible to dismiss an employee on the grounds of misconduct that occurred outside the workplace provided that the conduct complained of is thought likely to affect the continued employment relationship. The Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures states that where an employee is charged with or convicted of a criminal offence not related to work, this is not in itself a reason for disciplinary action. The employer should give consideration to what effect the charge or conviction has on the employee's suitability to do the job and the employee's relationship with their employer, work colleagues and customers.
The types of criminal offence that are most likely to affect the employment relationship are those involving dishonesty, violence and sexual offences. The employer must establish the facts of the case and decide whether or not it is appropriate to commence the disciplinary procedure. The fairness of a dismissal in each case will depend on the nature of the individual's job in relation to the type of offence.