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Here's how to legally entrap an employee

by , 06 May 2016
Scenario: You believe that one of your cleaners is stealing cleaning products from your storeroom, but you have no solid evidence. Now what?

You may consider entrapment. This is when you lure someone into committing an offence for the purpose of building up evidence against them.

But it's not that simple! Because one wrong move will amount to your entrapment attempt being unfair.

So to help you understand how you can legally entrap an employee, here are two examples, based on the above-mentioned scenario, one of which is legal and the other not...


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…

You get another employee to approach the cleaner (suspect), telling her how expensive cleaning products are getting.
The suspect says that she can help by selling him your cleaning products for half their usual price.
You get an employee to tell the suspect that he'll pay ¾ the price of cleaning products if she can help him out.
NOTE: The cleaner is in financial trouble, and the other employee is aware of it.
So, which one is legal and which one isn't?
The first example is legal and may be used to build evidence against the suspected employee.
This is because the other employee didn't entice the cleaner into committing an offence, but rather indirectly sparked an unruly idea in the cleaner's mind.
The second example can't be used as evidence because a direct suggestion was made to the cleaner, with the offer of money, knowing that she was in financial trouble. And so there's no way to show that the cleaner would have stolen and sold cleaning products if the other employee hadn't suggested it.
What can you learn here?
Entrapment may be used to build evidence against an employee, but it'll only be admissible if the trap didn't go beyond giving the suspected employee a chance to commit the offence.

*To learn more on entrapment, page over to Chapter E 17 in your Labour Law for Managers handbook, or click here to order your copy today.

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