Failure Of Good Behaviour

Failure Of Good Behaviour
Failure Of Good Behaviour
Quick Summary of Failure Of Good Behaviour

The term “failure of good behaviour” pertains to the misconduct of a government employee that may lead to termination of their employment. This is similar to a student’s misbehaviour in class that warrants disciplinary action from the teacher. In the case of civil servants, failure to exhibit proper conduct may result in their dismissal from their position.

What is the dictionary definition of Failure Of Good Behaviour?
Dictionary Definition of Failure Of Good Behaviour

The term “failure of good behaviour” pertains to an action by a civil servant that warrants their dismissal from their role. For instance, if a police officer is caught violating the law or engaging in unethical conduct, they may be terminated due to a failure of good behaviour. This is because civil servants are required to adhere to specific codes of conduct to preserve the trust and confidence of the public they serve. In general, failure to behave properly is a grave matter that can result in significant repercussions for individuals entrusted with public service positions.

Full Definition Of Failure Of Good Behaviour

Failure of good behaviour is a term that often arises in the context of employment law and public service. This legal concept generally refers to conduct by an employee or public official that falls below the standards expected in their professional role. The implications of such behaviour can range from disciplinary action to termination of employment, which can significantly impact an individual’s career and reputation. This overview will explore the definition, legal framework, case law, consequences, and practical considerations surrounding the failure of good behaviour.


Failure of good behaviour encompasses unprofessional, unethical, or inappropriate actions within employment or public office. It includes, but is not limited to, misconduct, negligence, breach of duty, and violations of workplace policies or laws. The specific definition and standards can vary depending on the industry, organisation, and jurisdiction, but the underlying principle is the same: individuals are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds the integrity and efficiency of their role.

Legal Framework

Employment Law

Under employment law, failure of good behaviour can be grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal. The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides the legal basis for dealing with such issues in the UK. According to this Act, employers must follow a fair process when disciplining or dismissing employees for misconduct. This includes conducting a thorough investigation, providing the employee an opportunity to respond, and adhering to relevant workplace policies or procedures.

Public Service

In the public sector, specific statutes, rules, and codes of conduct frequently govern bad behaviour. Due to their roles in serving the public interest, public officials are held to higher standards of accountability and transparency. The Civil Service Code, for instance, outlines the core values and standards of behaviour expected of civil servants in the UK. Breaches of these standards can lead to disciplinary measures, including suspension or dismissal.

Case Law

Employment Tribunals

Employment tribunals play a crucial role in adjudicating disputes related to failure of good behaviour. Case law provides insights into how tribunals interpret and apply legal principles in different scenarios. For example, in the case of British Home Stores Ltd v Burchell [1980], the Employment Appeal Tribunal established a three-part test for determining whether a dismissal for misconduct is fair:

  1. The employer must believe the employee is guilty of misconduct.
  2. The employer must have reasonable grounds for that belief.
  3. The employer must have carried out as much investigation as was reasonable in the circumstances.

This case underscores the importance of a fair and thorough investigative process before taking disciplinary action.

Public Sector Cases

In the public sector, judicial review is often used to challenge decisions related to failure of good behaviour. For instance, in the case of R (on the application of Miller) v Prime Minister [2019], the UK Supreme Court examined the limits of executive power and the expectations of good behaviour in public office. While not directly related to employment, the principles of accountability and proper conduct were central to the decision.

Consequences of Failure of Good Behaviour

Disciplinary Actions

Failure of good behaviour can lead to a range of disciplinary actions, depending on the severity and nature of the conduct. These actions may include:

  • Verbal or written warnings: initial steps to address minor misconduct.
  • Suspension: temporary removal from duties while an investigation is conducted.
  • Demotion: reduction in rank or responsibilities as a consequence of misconduct.
  • Termination: Dismissal from employment for serious breaches of conduct.

Legal and Financial Implications

In addition to disciplinary actions, individuals may face legal and financial repercussions. For example, fiduciary duty or fraudulent behaviour breaches can lead to criminal charges, fines, and restitution. Employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements may also include clauses that allow for the recovery of costs or damages resulting from misconduct.

Reputational Damage

One of the most significant consequences of failure of good behaviour is reputational damage. In today’s digital age, news of misconduct can spread quickly, affecting an individual’s professional standing and future employment prospects. Maintaining a positive reputation is crucial, particularly in professions where trust and integrity are paramount.

Practical Considerations

Prevention and Training

Preventing failure of good behaviour begins with establishing clear policies and providing training. Employers and organisations should:

  • Develop Comprehensive Codes of Conduct: Outline the standards of behaviour expected and the consequences of violations.
  • Conduct Regular Training: Ensure employees understand the policies and are equipped to adhere to them.
  • Foster an Ethical Culture: Promote values such as honesty, integrity, and accountability within the workplace.

Handling Allegations

When misconduct allegations arise, handling them promptly and fairly is essential. Key steps include:

  • Initiating an Investigation: Conduct a thorough and impartial investigation to gather facts.
  • Ensuring Due Process: Provide the accused individual with an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
  • Implementing Appropriate Actions: Based on the findings, take suitable disciplinary measures.

Legal Advice and Representation

Given the potential legal complexities, employers and employees should seek legal advice and representation. Legal professionals can assist in navigating the procedural requirements, ensure compliance with the law, and protect all parties’ rights.


Failure of good behaviour is a serious issue that can have far-reaching consequences for individuals and organisations. Understanding the legal framework, case law, and practical considerations is essential for effectively addressing and preventing misconduct. Employers and public sector organisations can mitigate the risks and uphold the standards expected in their respective fields by fostering a culture of integrity and adhering to fair processes.

Failure Of Good Behaviour FAQ'S

A failure of good behaviour refers to any action or behaviour that goes against societal norms or legal expectations. It can include criminal activities, such as theft or assault, as well as violations of civil laws, such as breach of contract or defamation.

The consequences of a failure of good behaviour can vary depending on the severity of the offence and the jurisdiction in which it occurred. It can range from fines and probation to imprisonment or other forms of punishment.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can have a significant impact on your employment prospects. Employers often conduct background checks, and a criminal record or history of misconduct can make it difficult to secure certain jobs or professional licences.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can have serious implications for your immigration status. Depending on the offence committed, it can lead to deportation or make it difficult to obtain or maintain a visa or green card.

In some cases, a failure of good behaviour can be expunged from your record. This typically requires meeting certain eligibility criteria, such as completing a probationary period or demonstrating rehabilitation. Consulting with a lawyer is recommended to understand the specific expungement process in your jurisdiction.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can impact child custody or visitation rights. Family courts prioritise the best interests of the child, and a history of misconduct or criminal behaviour can be considered when determining custody arrangements.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can lead to a civil lawsuit. For example, if your actions cause harm or damage to another person or their property, they may choose to sue you for compensation.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can affect your ability to obtain a loan or credit. Lenders and financial institutions often consider an individual’s creditworthiness, which includes factors such as criminal history and past behaviour, when making lending decisions.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can impact your ability to rent a property. Landlords often conduct background checks on prospective tenants, and a history of misconduct or criminal offences can make it challenging to secure a rental agreement.

Yes, a failure of good behaviour can be used against you in future legal proceedings. Prior convictions or instances of misconduct can be brought up as evidence to establish a pattern of behaviour or to challenge your credibility in court.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 11th June 2024.

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