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Disciplinary policy - Why our labour law expert says you must have one!

by , 31 August 2015
I recently sat down with our labour law expert, Lizle Louw. I couldn't believe the number of labour cases she deals with weekly.

She told me, many of her new clients (employers like you) are being taken to the Labour Court by their employees.

And one of the reasons they end up fighting costly labour battles, is because of disciplinary policies and procedures. They don't have a company disciplinary policy or code. Which then leads to inconsistent disciplinary procedures.

A disciplinary policy or code is a written document that describes the steps you'll take when disciplining employees who commit misconduct.

You must have this in your workplace to help you keep a consistent approach to discipline.

Let's look at six other reasons why you must have a disciplinary policy or code...


Fact: The CCMA doesn't care why you dismissed an employee... It only wants to know if you dismissed him fairly
And if you didn't do it fairly, you could have to pay him up to 12 months' salary! Don't let this happen to you.

Find out how to conduct fair disciplinary hearings...
Six reasons you must have a disciplinary policy and code

A disciplinary policy and code, sets out the procedures and rules you'll follow when disciplining employees.

You have a right to set the rules for the workplace and expect employees to comply with them. If they don't, then the policy should set out what action you'll take against them.

A disciplinary policy will:
  1. Give you and your employees a framework on how you'll manage and deal with disciplinary issues;
  2. Give you the tools and steps to deal effectively with disciplinary problems;
  3. Ensure that while dealing with discipline, you stick to your obligations to be fair, and avoid the risk of disputes;
  4. Maintain standards of conduct aligning with the ethics and standards of your company and business needs;
  5. Make all employees aware of the standards of conduct and what you expect of them; and
  6. Make sure employees know what the consequences are for disobeying your rules and policies.

There you have it, I don't need to convince you more as to why you need a disciplinary policy in your company. For a sample on how to put one together, turn to chapter D04: Disciplinary codes and procedures in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management Handbook. If you don't have a copy yet, click here.

P.S. Join our Labour Law Expert and Editor-in-chief for the Labour for Managers Handbook, Lizle Louw, on 18 September 2015 where she'll discuss case laws relating to consistency in disciplining employees, and other top labour law cases currently trending. Bookings for this Case Law Update Breakfast open this Wednesday. Email seminars@fsp.co.za for more details.


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