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Before you dismiss, impose these four disciplinary sanctions instead

by , 10 September 2014
When it comes to employee misconduct, the general rule is that dismissal must be your last resort.

So no matter how angry you are at your employee for doing something wrong, you mustn't jump to dismissing him, especially if the offence isn't too serious.

So what should you do? Should you let him get away with his misconduct?

Not quite.

Here are the four disciplinary sanctions you can impose instead of dismissal.

Impose these four disciplinary sanctions instead of dismissal

#1: Reduce a portion of a discretionary bonus

A sanction you can use instead of dismissal is to reduce a portion, or the whole, of a discretionary bonus.

You would normally pay this bonus for merit or productivity or because you've made a profit and want to reward employees.

Just remember that you can only deduct any amounts from an employee's annual bonus or 13th cheque if he agrees to in writing.

#2: Cancel perks

If for example, you give your employee perks like, gym memberships, sports or country club memberships, free holiday accommodation, business trips, the use of company car, etc, you can cancel them.

That's not all.

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Here are two more disciplinary sanctions you can impose instead of dismissal

#3: Suspension

Punitive suspension is when you use suspension as a sanction or penalty. This will be for serious misconduct and you don't have to pay your employee during his suspension.

Remember, unpaid suspension is illegal unless your employee agrees in writing (Section 34 of the BCEA).

If your employee refuses to accept suspension as an alternative to dismissal, you can dismiss him.

#4: Demotion

A demotion's where you change your employee to a lower rank or status. This can be with or without a reduction in remuneration.

Just like punitive suspension, you'll need your employee to agree, in writing, to a demotion. You also can't reduce your employee's wage or status without his written agreement.

There you have it. Dismissal must be your last resort, impose these disciplinary sanctions instead.

PS: We strongly recommend you check out the "You're Fired!" Your guide to substantive and procedurally fair dismissals. It has all the information you need to make sure your dimissals are legally compliant.

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