The biting incident involving Luis Suárez and Branislav Ivanovic hit the headlines last month. Whilst this generated attention from a social media perspective (resulting in images of Luis Suárez attired as Dracula), this incident raises an interesting question of employment law - what action can an employer take where an employee has committed an act of gross misconduct?
Although Luis Suárez likely considers his 10 match ban a harsh penalty, misconduct as serious as this could justify dismissal of an employee. This type of behaviour would constitute gross misconduct, with a usual outcome of any disciplinary process being dismissal without notice. What constitutes gross misconduct will usually be set out in the employer's disciplinary policy but acts of gross misconduct would usually include theft, fraud, physical violence, serious negligence or a serious breach of health and safety regulations.
It should be borne in mind that even where there are allegations of gross misconduct against an employee, it is still essential that a fair procedure is followed by the employer to avoid any dismissal being found to be procedurally unfair.