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Respect your disciplinary code or prepare to face these two consequences

by , 26 August 2014
You need to have a disciplinary code in your company.

This all important document describes the steps you'll take when taking disciplinary action against employees who've committed misconduct.

But having the perfect disciplinary code isn't enough. You must respect it by following its provisions. If you don't, you'll face these two serious consequences...

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Two consequences of not respecting your disciplinary code

Consequence #1: You could be found guilty of unfair labour practices

The consequences vary depending on if you've included your code in your employment contracts.

But, generally, failing to adhere to the provisions of your code means you always run a significant risk of being found to have acted unfairly.

If, for example, you don't follow your code and you dismiss your employee, he can argue that his dismissal was substantively or procedurally unfair. This can then result in an unfair dismissal finding in the CCMA, against you. Depending on the case, you might even have to compensate your employee, or reinstate him.

Consequence #2: Your employees could accuse you of a breach of contract

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says in situations where you've included your code as part of your employment contract, your employee has a contractual right to demand that you comply with the code.

So if you don't follow it, it means it's a breach of contract and can compound the potential unfairness of an employee's dismissal.

Here's the bottom line: Failure to stick to your disciplinary code will ALWAYS introduce an extra risk of unfairness towards your employee.

You must always stick as closely as possible to the provisions of your disciplinary code, unless you have compelling reasons not to do so.

And you must always act consistently and not lose sight of the circumstances of a particular case, and the procedures that are appropriate in those circumstances.

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