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Read this before you dismiss an AWOL employee or be prepared for an unfair dismissal case

by , 25 July 2016
Read this before you dismiss an AWOL employee or be prepared for an unfair dismissal caseWant to know why so many employers find themselves at the CCMA or Labour Court for unfair dismissal?

It's simple.

They deal with absenteeism without permission or AWOL incorrectly, say the experts at the Labour & HR Club.

And if you decide on the spot that your employee has absconded or deserted with the intention to never return and dismiss him, he can take you to the CCMA and he'll probably win too.
So before you act hastily and dismiss your AWOL employee, read this article. We're confident the information we have for you will help you deal with your employee correctly and help you avoid an unfair dismissal case.
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What can you do when you think your employee's gone AWOL?

Your employee hasn't shown up for work all week. And you have no idea if he's ever coming back to work!

You've tried getting hold of him to no avail.

What can you do when you think your employee has absconded?

You have to follow the right process before you dismiss him

Click here to find out how to deal abscondment legally… 

Here's what you need to know about dismissing your AWOL employee

Absenteeism without permission is a disciplinary offence and you must deal with it as misconduct, says AWOL! Your guide to dealing with employees who abscond.
This means, if your employee goes AWOL, you must hold a disciplinary hearing and give him a chance to justify his absence.
In terms of labour law, dismissal is normally too harsh for a first offence. This is also true if the absence is for a short period and there's a reasonable explanation for it.
But for repeat unauthorised absences or one of an unreasonably long time, you can dismiss your employee. You can also dismiss if, for example, your employee plays a key role and his absence holds up production and causes you major losses.
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This example shows how to deal with a case of an employee who's gone AWOL
Tom's a security guard. He works the night shift at a warehouse. 
His supervisor decides to visit the site at 22:30, but he doesn't find Tom in the security hut. Nor is he patrolling the warehouse premises as required on an hourly basis.
The supervisor waits for about 30 minutes, until he sees Tom coming with food and a drink. Tom explains that he usually brings his own lunch to work. But he forgot, so he went to the nearest petrol station to buy food.
Tom's supervisor then decides to hold a disciplinary hearing. 
During the hearing, Tom admits he can contact the control room via telephone or radio. But he didn't call to get permission or help in getting his food.
Following the hearing, Tom gets a first written warning for unauthorised absence. This because the premises were at risk for about 30 minutes.
While this is quite a serious offence, those taking part in the hearing concluded dismissal would be too harsh. They decided a written warning is good enough especially since this is Tom's first offence.
There you have it: We hope this information will help you deal with your AWOL employee correctly so you can avoid an unfair dismissal case.

PS: For more information on dealing with employees who've gone AWOL, check out AWOL! Your guide to dealing with employees who abscond.

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