Every business owner may one day face a rebellious employee, who may fail to embody the ethics and values of the business. Their attitude and behaviour will not only reflect negatively on your company, but it can also impact internal morale and productivity. The problem must, therefore, be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. Learn how to expertly handle employee misconduct.

Issue a Verbal Warning

The first step you need to take when dealing with serious misconduct (such as habitual lateness or unprofessional dress) is a verbal warning. This provides a member of staff with oral notice that the employee must amend his or her ways to continue to work for the business. This can often instil a little fear that they may face dismissal if they continue to go against the instructions given by their manager.

A Formal Written Warning

If a verbal warning failed to improve the employees’ behaviour or attitude, you may have no other choice but take the next course of action: issue a written warning. The oral notice might not have been enough to make an employee realise they are treading on thin ice, so they may take a formal written warning more seriously.

Print three copies of the written warning: one should be presented to the employee, one will go in the employee’s file, and the other should go into the company’s records. An employee also has a right to appeal against disciplinary action.

Reprimand an Employee

Unfortunately, despite your continual warnings, some employees may continue to impact the business negatively. If they have ignored the written warnings, a high-ranking manager should reprimand the employee over their misconduct at work. The employee must receive a warning that this is the final chance to improve their performance or they will face suspension or dismissal.

Launch an Investigation

There are some employee behaviours that can result in automatic dismissal or suspension, but you must have evidence to support your claim. For example, if you suspect an employee has committed gross misconduct, you can launch an investigation into employee theft or embezzlement.

You can gather evidence with employee testimonies, or you can hire a specialist for a digital evidence collection, which should be presented at a formal hearing. Weigh up the evidence and witness testimonies against your employee’s response before making a final decision.

Dismiss the Employee

If an employee chooses to ignore each warning they have received, or has committed gross misconduct, they will have exhausted all other options to retain their position. Dismissal will be the company’s final option.


Almost every business will face troublesome employees at some point. That’s why it is so important to carefully select members of staff, as your decision should not be based on their talent and experience alone. A candidate must have the right personality and attitude, so that they can fit within the company culture. If you fail to do so, you might need to issue more warnings throughout the year than you would like, which can decrease productivity and growth.