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Can I dismiss an employee who has falsely accused other employees of racism?

by , 23 March 2017
Let's say, one of your employees comes to you to report a group of colleagues for racism.
Because you have a zero-tolerance approach to racism in your company, you investigate the matter immediately.

After your investigation, you find that the employee who reported the incident has falsely accused his colleagues.

You're now wondering whether or not you can dismiss him for this form of misconduct.
Read on to find out the answer so you can implement discipline effectively.

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Yes, you can dismiss an employee for falsely accusing other employees of racism

Racism is a very serious offence and it's unacceptable to falsely accuse someone of being racist.

Experts behind the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explain that in the case between SACWU and Another vs NCP Chlorchem (Pty) Ltd and Others 2007 28 ILJ 1308 (LAC),the Labour Court found that making false racist allegations amounts to serious misconduct.

The Judge stated: 'Racial harmony in the workplace must be of paramount importance to each and every employer and employee alike. Just as racist behaviour needs to be rooted out, allowing employees to willy-nilly accuse fellow employees of being racist or displaying racist attitudes must be addressed with equal fervour by employers if such allegations are baseless and made without reasonable cause therefor. Clearly to allow such allegations to be made without there being a proper and reasonable basis therefor will be equally destructive to racial harmony in the workplace'.

The Court went on to say: 'If you launch such an attack (falsely accusing others of racism) in an unwarranted or baseless manner, it should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator'.

It's clear from this case that you can dismiss your employee if he accuses colleagues or superiors of racism without justification. Just make sure you follow the correct disciplinary procedure before you dismiss.

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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