On Monday 20th February 2017 a possible Gross Misconduct incident occurred surrounding Sutton United reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw. Shaw, who weighs 23st, said he simply wanted to make the crowd laugh towards the end of Sutton’s heroic 2-0 FA Cup defeat on Monday night. Shaw’s conduct highlights a few employment law considerations, which should be taken into account when dealing with similar incident in the workplace from an employee.
Matthew from Consensus HR comments “The reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw can be seen on the television footage as shown above on the BBC eating a pie whilst Sutton were playing against Arsenal in the FA cup. Shaw alleged that the pie cost him nothing but in the end obviously his job and “It wasn’t done for personal gain. Just something to remember, and it certainly is that now.”
Following the match it became apparent that a bookmaker had given odds on this happening, and this triggered an investigation from both the Gambling Commission and the Football Association.
Wayne was forced to quit his £450-a-week job with the non-league club on Tuesday after the FA and Gambling Commission launched inquiries into the offer.
Employees need to be aware that:
Damaging your business reputation can be considered as gross misconduct
This case still shows that it’s important to take appropriate action against an employee who has, or is likely to, damage the reputation of your business in order to show that you do not tolerate the behaviour demonstrated as acts such as these can be classed as an act of Gross Misconduct which could result in instant dismissal.
A complete a thorough investigation needs to take place before taking any disciplinary action and the Acas Code of Practice followed.
In this case, Shaw admitted he was aware of the offer and said people had told him they had placed bets on his pie eating.
However, he insisted no close pals or family benefited from it. However it is vital and as part of the Acas code that a thorough investigation is carried out promptly with the employee in question to establish their story. Only when this has been concluded should a decision be made whether to proceed to a disciplinary ensuring that all the legal specific areas are covered and the allegation noted within all correspondence. It is only then that the Disciplining manager should make a decision, which; due to it being Gross Misconduct could be immediate dismissal.