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This article is about the legal sense. For misconduct in scientific research, see Scientific misconduct. For the association football sense, see Fouls and Misconduct (association football). For the infraction in ice hockey, see Penalty (ice hockey).

In law, misconduct is wrongful, improper, or unlawful conduct motivated by premeditated or intentional purpose or by obstinate indifference to the consequences of one's acts.

Two categories of misconduct are sexual misconduct and official misconduct. In connection with school discipline, "misconduct" is generally understood to be student behavior that is unacceptable to school officials but does not violate criminal statutes, including absenteeism, tardiness, bullying, and inappropriate language. (Special Education Dictionary, 2003, LRP Publications) Misconduct in the workplace generally falls under two categories. Minor misconduct is seen as unacceptable but is not a criminal offense (e.g. being late, faking qualifications).[1] Gross misconduct can lead to dismissal, (e.g. stealing or sexual harassment).

Social misconduct has been variously categorized as vice by philosophers, sin by priests, crime by policemen, and disease by psychiatrists. Diagnosing social misconduct as psychosis has serious social consequences: involuntary commitment, involuntary drug treatments, and stigmatization. Psychiatric diagnoses are also powerful political and economic tools in the marketplace, serving the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.[2]

  • "Misconduct" includes something seen as unacceptable as well as criminal offenses e.g. deceptive manipulation.
  • "Gross misconduct"[3] can lead to immediate dismissal because it is serious enough and possibly criminal, e.g. stealing or sexual harassment.

Misconduct refers to an action, rather than neglecting to take action, or inaction which could be referred to as poor performance.[citation needed]

Examples of gross misconduct[edit]

  • Being drunk or under the influence of any drug while on duty
  • Avoiding school (truancy) or a work shift
  • Illegal drug use at work
  • Fighting
  • Harassing people
  • Stealing
  • Subjecting people to discrimination

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.medico-legalsociety.org.uk/articles/dishonesty_in_medical_research.pdf
  2. ^ Lothane, Henry Zvi. "Letter to Wall Street Journal by Zvi Lothane". International Psychoanalysis. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Gross Misconduct Glossary of Law

External links[edit]