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Don't ever do these two things when dismissing employees

by , 19 September 2014
The majority of disputes that land at the CCMA are about unfair dismissals.

What we often find in these unfair dismissal cases is that employers make two serious errors when dismissing employees.

Luckily, you can avoid becoming another statistic.

Keep reading to discover two things you must never do when dismissing employees so you can avoid paying 12 to 24 months' salary as compensation!

Here are the two things you must never do when dismissing employees

#1: Never be inconsistent
You must apply discipline consistently to ensure your labour practices are fair. You can't dismiss an employee for absenteeism if you don't discipline other employees for the same thing.

Ensure you can defend your decision if you decide to dismiss one employee for an offence, but don't dismiss another employee for doing the same thing.

Keep in mind that different penalties for the same offence are acceptable if mitigating and aggravating circumstances allow it.

There's one more thing you mustn't do when dismissing employees.

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#2: Never charge your employee for an offence for you've already punished him for

Don't charge your employee with a number of offences because you anticipate dismissal will be the outcome.

Never bring into the disciplinary hearing every single offence your employee has ever done and may already have been punished for. This is unlawful.

For example, Joe is a storeman. He's been in this job for three years. He recently loudly and publicly refused to follow a direct instruction from his manager.

The manager now wants to dismiss Joe and he decides to add these charges to the main charge:
  1. Refusal to obey an instruction;
  2. Gross insubordination;
  3. Absence without leave; and
  4. Failure to follow laid down procedures.
During the hearing, the Chairman finds that charges 3 and 4 relate to a previous incident. Joe got a verbal warning and was punished at the time. He decides that Joe can't be punished again for the same offence.

Here's the bottom line: If you don't want to fork out 12 to 24 months' salary as compensation, don't do these two things when dismissing employees.

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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