Some employers may be stricter than others, but that doesn't mean that they're exempt from the law! What this means is that you can't just dismiss an employee if you're unhappy with him. No, you have to follow a certain disciplinary style, as is required under Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act.
I'm specifically referring to Progressive discipline. You have to implement it in your workplace, because if you don't, you risk paying the price for an unfair dismissal!
So to help you ensure that you're legally compliant before dismissing an employee, here's what you should know...
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…
to avoid this from happening to you...
Progressive Discipline: Here's how it works...
If an employee breaks your company's rules, especially if it's a minor offence, you can issue him with a verbal warning. But if he does the same offence again, or if he commits various other offences, especially if it's serious in nature, you can issue him a written warning. If it hasn't worked, and the behaviour continues, you can then follow it up with a final written warning before ultimately resorting to dismissal.
You see, the point here is that the discipline is progressive in nature, and not instantaneous. For example, you can't just tell an employee after one mess up: 'That's it! You're out!' You have to follow a progressive, step-by step procedure, as laid out above. This is of course unless the offence is serious enough to jump straight to a final-written warning, or even dismissal (for example, an employee physically assaults another employee, putting him in hospital). But these are fairly rare events in the workplace, as opposed to minor offences, which happen almost all the time.
What's more is that, when it comes to progressive discipline, there are two vital points you need to remember:
· Firstly, warnings and infringements must be are of a similar type in order to be considered progressive; and
· Secondly, those warnings mustn't be indefinite. In other words, they must have an expiry date (now even though the law doesn't set out a timeframe for the validity of warnings, common practice shows that 3-12 months is generally accepted. So refrain from using a past warning against an employee if it's unreasonably old).
*To learn more on implementing effective, and legally-compliant, disciplinary practices in your workplace, page over to Chapter D 02: Discipline
in your Labour Law for Managers
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