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Must I wait for a formal complaint before taking disciplinary action against an abusive employee?

by , 26 September 2014
Taking disciplinary action is fitting when a transgression of the disciplinary code is serious and you can't condone it and if counselling has failed to remedy the situation.

When it comes to taking disciplinary action, we often come across employees who want to know whether they should wait for someone to lay a formal complaint before taking disciplinary action against an abusive employee.

If you want to know the answer too, keep reading so you can comply with labour law.


Caution! You don't have to wait for a formal complaint before taking disciplinary action against an abusive employee
 

That's right.

According to the Employment Equity Act and the Code of Good Practice for Handling Sexual Harassment Cases, you have a duty to protect your employees from harassment or any form of discrimination.

So, you must take action if you become aware that someone in the workplace is harassing your employee even if there's no formal complaint yet.

If you fail to take action, you're opening the door to a case at the CCMA and possible civil action against your company.

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Don't let the CCMA rule a disciplinary hearing 'unfair' under your watch

When it comes to chairing disciplinary hearings, you can't afford to make any errors.

If you make one mistake the hearing will be ruled as unfair.

Discover the five steps you need to take to hold a legally compliant disciplinary hearing today

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Always remember this when it comes to disciplinary action


You need to have a formal disciplinary code and procedure in your workplace. This will ensure your employees are clear on the standards of conduct you expect from them, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management

Once you make these documents available, it's up to your employees to ensure they know and comply with them.

Here's the bottom line: Don't wait for a formal complaint before taking disciplinary action against an abusive employee. You have a duty to protect your employees, so take action as soon as you become aware of the incident.

PS: We strongly recommend you check out the "You're Fired!" Your guide to substantive and procedurally fair dismissals. It has all the information you need to make sure your dimissals are legally compliant.

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