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Follow these five rules when you need to issue a final written warning

by , 08 October 2013
A final written warning (FWW) is the last written warning you'll give your employee to correct persistent, repeated misconduct. Or to correct more serious misconduct before you dismiss him. But there are five rules you need to follow when issuing FWWs to make them legal. Read on to find out what they are...

You shouldn't issue FWWs lightly or prematurely, warns the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

That's because if you issue such a warning and then relent, you may have problems further down the line. If the misconduct is repeated while the FWW is valid and you decide to issue another FWW instead of dismissing the offender, you could lose credibility and undermine your authority. Employees will suspect that a FWW carries little weight and your discipline becomes less effective.

This is just one of the important rules you need to follow when you issue FWWs.

Here are the rest of the rules…

Four more final written warning rules you must follow

Rule#1: Don't issue a FWW before you hold a proper enquiry.

Rule#2: Only impose a FWW for specific offences.

Some employers impose a type of FWW that warns an employee that, should he make himself guilty of any other (unrelated) misconduct, he potentially faces dismissal.

Big mistake! These FWWs may not stand up to scrutiny at the CCMA or council so don't use of them.

Rule#3: Ensure the FWW has a specific period of validity. It must remain in force for a specific period, usually six to 12 months.

Keep in mind you can't dismiss your employee for committing the same offence once the FWW has expired. But, you should keep the FWW on record after its expiry.

Rule#4: Don't simply dismiss your employee if she's on a FWW for an offence and commits the offence again. You must still hold a proper enquiry to determine your employee's guilt and the appropriateness of dismissal as a sanction.

Remember, FWWs can be challenged as an unfair labour practice. So make sure you stick to these four rules when you need to issue a final written warning.

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