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Before you dismiss your employee for dishonesty, ask yourself these five questions so you don't dismiss him unfairly

by , 30 December 2014
Let's assume your employee Paul steals petty cash.

You think to yourself, 'dealing with this situation is straightforward.'

I'll just hold a disciplinary hearing and dismiss him for dishonestly because I can no longer trust him. And it's what any logical person in my shoes would do.

Sadly, that's not the case.

Dishonesty in the workplace is fair from simple.

Before you dismiss Paul for dishonesty, you have to ask yourself certain questions. If you don't, you run the risk of dismissing him unfairly. And trust me, he won't think twice about taking you to the CCMA for unfair dismissal.

Don't take chances. Ask yourself these five questions before you dismiss your employee for dishonesty.

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Five questions you must ask yourself before you dismiss your employee for dishonesty

Breach of trust doesn't always justify dismissal. This is according to Ivan Israelstam, a labour law expert and the CEO of Labour Law Management Consulting.
He says when you discipline an employee for any form of dishonesty the issue of trust arises.
If you find your employee guilty, you have the right to claim there's now damage in the trust element of your employment relationship.
BUT, he says this doesn't necessarily mean that:
  • The damage to the trust relationship is so bad that you can't repair it; and
  • That the breach of trust automatically calls for dismissal.
This is where the five questions come in.

Your right to dismiss a dishonest employee for breach of trust depends on the answers to a number of questions, says Israelstam. This means, before you dismiss, you must ask yourself:
1. Is the trust completely gone?
2. Is trust a key factor in the position my employee occupies?
3. Is there an alternative corrective measure available short of dismissal?
4. Am I acting consistently? (For example, did you dismiss other employees guilty of the same offence due to the destruction of the employment relationship?)
5. Did the employee try to cover up the dishonest act with more dishonesty? Or did he own up right away and show genuine remorse?
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Dismissing for dishonesty isn't straightforward

After you ask yourself these questions, you can then make your decision about the dismissal.
But, as Israelstam explains, it's a combination of complex factors that determine whether breach of trust calls for dismissal or not.
He warns, 'the CCMA and courts don't always accept allegations of breach of trust as justification for dismissal.'
'Before using breach of trust as justification for dismissal, get expert advice to see if the facts of the case and circumstances will hold up in court,' he adds.
As you can see, dismissal is a complex issue. That's why we advise you get your hands on You're fired!' Your guide to substantively and procedurally fair dismissals. It will show you everything you need to know to dismiss employees fairly.

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Before you dismiss your employee for dishonesty, ask yourself these five questions so you don't dismiss him unfairly
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