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Five actions that don't qualify as disciplinable misconduct

by , 21 August 2014
Misconduct is employee behaviour that breaks your rules, breaches the terms of the employment contract and causes excessive harm to your company.

You must tread carefully when dealing with misconduct or disciplining an employee for misconduct.
The truth is you can't treat all behaviour that you dislike as misconduct. If you cross the line, you'll have a full blown labour dispute on your hands - your employee will certainly challenge you for this at the CCMA.

The good news is you can avoid this if you know what doesn't qualify as disciplinable misconduct...

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The following five actions don't qualify as disciplinable misconduct

You can't discipline your employee for:

Action #1: Reporting you to the relevant authorities when you break the law;

Action #2: Lodging a grievance to your superiors or human resources department;

Action #3: Refusing to carry out an unlawful or unfair instruction;

Action #4: Referring a dispute against you to the CCMA; and

Action #5: Responding emotionally to abuse by any level of management.

Disciplining your employee for any of these five actions is out of the question.

Always remember that while discipline is vital to keep control of your workplace, you need to ensure you implement it fairly and in compliance with the law.

If you want a list of punishable misconduct, check out this article. It contains offences that constitute to misconduct.

Now that you know the five actions that don't qualify as disciplinable misconduct, don't cross the line. If you do, you'll find yourself at the CCMA.

PS: For more information on misconduct, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service. It'll explain in great detail what misconduct is, how to discipline employees for misconduct, show you how to draft a disciplinary code for misconduct and so much more.

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