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Five dos and don'ts when an employee is arrested or imprisoned

by , 25 June 2015
Yesterday, the police arrested your employee Joe, who's now in jail.

Your first reaction is probably, I want to fire him! But beware: Your first reaction might be your biggest mistake!

You need to hold an enquiry and decide what the best course of action is depending on the circumstances. Here's what and what not to do in a case like this...

#1: DO whatever you can to find him
Contact his house, send him a telegram advising him to contact you, speak to his colleagues, phone his cell phone, phone local hospitals and police stations. This will let you know if your employee needs help, as well as whether you can expect his return to work soon or not.
 
#2: DO keep in touch with the authorities
Keeping in touch with the authorities when an employee is arrested will ensure you're kept up to date with his chances of returning to work.
 
#3: DON'T act against the employee
Until such time that you have all the facts and enough proof, taking action against the employee isn't merited.

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Warning: 1 out of 3 dismissals are deemed as 'unfair' by the CCMA!
 
Chairing a disciplinary hearing isn't easy. With all the disciplinary codes and procedures you have to remember...
 
The roles and rules you need to adhere to...
 
The different questions you need to ask...
 
The different types of evidence that can legally be presented...
 
There are dozens of things you need to keep in mind to give each employee a fair hearing.
 
But what if I told you that chairing a hearing that follows the right disciplinary process is as easy as five simple steps?
 
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#4: DO have all the evidence at a hearing
If you decide to hold a hearing, make sure that all the evidence is brought before a presiding officer who thoroughly understands labour legislation and all of the possible pitfalls.
 
#5: DO consider dismissal only within reason
It's only reasonable to dismiss the employee if the arrest or imprisonment affects your business so strongly that it's clear that dismissal is your only viable option.
 

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