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Can you dismiss an employee for taking time off to attend an interview for another job?

by , 18 March 2015
Recently our experts at www.labourandhrclub.co.za recently received this question:

'We have an employee that we know is looking for a new job, since she informed us about this in advance. But today she informed us that she will be going to Cape Town for an interview and will be absent from the office. Our question is can we dismiss this employee on the grounds of being "negative" in the office? '

Here's what our expert told them...

What to do if an employee is absenting from the office for a job interview
In this particular situation, it all depends on your disciplinary code and what constitutes as misconduct in accordance with this code.

From a legal perspective, you can't dismiss an employee for going to an interview for another job, regardless of whether it classifies as "negativity" in the office.
But if her behaviour and attitude affects her work performance or affects other employees' work performance then you could charge her with misconduct.
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However, it's important you follow the provisions included in your disciplinary code on this matter

As an employer, when you want to dismiss someone on the grounds of misconduct or bad attitude, you have to be aware that this is an involved and somewhat technical dismissal because their attitude involves the company culture and the employee's inability to "fit in". 

Moreover, bear in mind that the process for this particular type of dismissal involves counseling the employee and warning him before a disciplinary hearing is held. 

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