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Must you always take disciplinary action when an employee breaches your company's disciplinary code?

by , 09 September 2014
There's a lot of confusion regarding taking disciplinary action against employees.

Some of the confusion is around whether or not it's always necessary to institute disciplinary action when an employee breaches company's disciplinary code.

The good news is today we'll set the record straight.

So keep reading to find out the answer to this question so you can implement disciplinary action fairly and in a legal manner.


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When an employee breaches the disciplinary code, it's NOT always necessary to institute disciplinary action
 

It's true.

Experts behind the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management say that the Labour Relations Act (LRA) encourages you to use disciplinary action as a last resort.

'According to the LRA and the CCMA, it's best to try and deal with potential disciplinary issues by first counselling your employees who have been involved in the transgression,' add the experts.

What's counselling?


Counselling is when you (the manager) speak to your employee to try and find out the reason for a transgression or poor performance so you can advise your employee on more effective ways to deal with the issue.

Counselling is appropriate when:

  • Your employee isn't performing to an acceptable standard, or when you notice a drop in your employee's performance;
 
  • Your employee is transgressing an article of the disciplinary code unwittingly. In other words, he's breaking a rule without realising that the rule is being broken; and
 
  • You're dealing with minor transgressions, like lateness or the use of foul language; for example, you may counsel your employee first as a preliminary measure to remedy the behaviour as opposed to simply punishing it.
 
It's simple: When an employee breaches the disciplinary code, it's NOT always necessary to institute disciplinary action. Counselling should always be your first option when you deal with transgressions.
 
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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