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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 57413
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I am going to my first ever disciplinary hearing after 12+

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I am going to my first ever disciplinary hearing after 12+ years with my company, for viewing porn sites. It's apparently gross misconduct so am concerned about summary dismissal
Assistant: Was the disciplinary action discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: A manager issued a letter
Assistant: Does the workplace operate with employees, freelancers, consultants, contractors or with unionised employees?
Customer: no unions, all employees that works as consultants f
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: there are stress related issues, at home and at work

Hello, thank you for the question.

It could amount to gross misconduct and yes they could dismiss you for that - do you have any doctor note for the stress related issues which you could use to help argue against a potential dismissal?


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Can stress be a mitigating factor? If so what guidelines have you?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
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Well it could be an excuse and if they were to dismiss you, you could argue that the stress caused you to do what you did and the employment tribunal (if you took your employer to a tribunal to question the legality of their dismissal) could also take it in to account. Other mitigating factors could be for example if an employee struck another, a mitigating factor would be the dismissed employee was provoked.

It might be an idea to write to your manager to say that you have been under stress and that this was the cause (and apologise, etc). I could help with a letter if required.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a star rating, I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
In the case of viewing porn sites, what type of mitigating factors can there be? Can you direct me to any case law? What about stress caused from the Employer's boss marginalising me (e.g. by giving work to other consultants instead of me)?

Hi, at the moment I cannot access case law so will opt out for others to assist.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Others? Colleagues of yours? I did also ask In the case of viewing porn sites, what type of mitigating factors can there be?

Hi there, just to clarify we are only a Q&A site so we do not ordinarily do case law research which can often take hours and would simply not be covered by the very low fees we charge. So you will have to work with what we know through experience and legal knowledge rather than get specific case law references, especially if we do not know them off the top of our heads.

In your scenario, you cannot just make a list of mitigating factors you may have heard elsewhere as each situation will be considered on its own facts. What you have done is indeed likely gross misconduct but you do have the right to raise whatever mitigating factors you believe are relevant and hope that the employer takes them into account.

I must warn you though that stress, boredom, etc will not always be taken as strong mitigating factors as the employer can always say that there are plenty of other things you could have done to deal with this rather than resorting to accessing porn in the workplace.

Therefore, I would be mindful to use your long service and (hopefully) clean disciplinary record as the strongest defences here, and then add the factors you mentioned in order to provide a better insight into your state of mind at the time and why you felt you had to access porn at work to deal with it. Also, be careful not to try and turn this around on the employer, where you blame them for this as they will unlikely be happy about it and it can just make things worse. So avoid telling them the way they treated you is the reason for your actions as that would likely result in dismissal. Instead, explain general stress, or stress for other specific reasons, was part of the cause and apologise, expressing remorse and ask for a second chance, highlighting your service and record with them.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

you are welcome and all the best

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 57413
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor
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