Want to know how the courts have dealt with the dismissal of an arrested employee when the trust relationship has been affected?
If so, the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service has got you covered.
For the purposes of this article, we'll look at how the court ruled in the Visser vs Woolworths case.
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Case law: Visser vs Woolworths  11 BALR 1216 - Dismissal of an arrested employee when the trust relationship has been affected
The facts of the case:
In Visser vs Woolworths  11 BALR 1216,
an employee was arrested on a charge of theft from a department store owned by Woolworths' competitor.
Before she was convicted, Woolworths dismissed her due to her arrest. This was on the grounds that she had a number of subordinates who were supposed to look up to her, and she could no longer be trusted.
What the court ruled:
The arbitrator recognised Woolworths' right to dismiss
an employee if the trust relationship's irrevocably damaged. But, as Woolworths didn't prove Visser was guilty of theft and hadn't even tried to, it couldn't show Visser couldn't be trusted. The dismissal was found to be unfair and Woolworths had to pay Visser eight months' remuneration.
Keep reading to find out what you can learn from this case…
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What can you learn from the case?
If you can prove the arrest destroyed the trust relationship, you may be justified in terminating the employment, but proving the destruction of trust's extremely difficult.
Merely alleging damage to the trust relationship isn't enough.
To prove destruction of the employment relationship you'll need to show why your employee's actions would destroy trust in the context of your workplace.
You'll also need to prove your employee was responsible for the alleged criminal act in question.
Saying your employee is responsible for the alleged criminal act just because he's been arrested, is not enough as he's innocent until proven guilty.
To prove a breakdown in trust before a criminal conviction you'd need to prove independently that your employee's guilty of some form of dishonesty.
For example, if you run a bank and you can prove your arrested employee was guilty of bank robbery, this is likely to justify the belief that your employee can't be trusted to work at your bank.
Now that you know how the courts have ruled on the dismissal of an arrested employee when the trust relationship has been damaged, make sure you don't make the same mistake.
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