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Use these two tips to discipline employees for misconduct

by , 29 October 2013
SAPS advocate William Mokhari has formally lodged a professional misconduct complaint against North Gauteng High Court Judge John Murphy after the two judicial officers clashed in court last week, eNCA reports. According to media reports, the Judicial Service Commission says the complaint will be dealt with by the judicial conduct committee. But misconduct doesn't only happen in the legal fraternity. In fact, no workplace is immune to it. So while you await the outcome of this legal showdown, make sure you're aware of the two ways you can discipline your employees for misconduct.

According to eNCA, the complaint follows a courtroom drama that unfolded last Thursday at a hearing where former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli was due to apply for leave to appeal last month's judgment ordering that charges against him be reinstated. The charges of fraud, corruption and murder were withdrawn in 2011.

During opposing argument by Mokhari, a heated exchange between him and Judge Murphy ensued. This resulted in Murphy storming out of court.

BDlive reports that the fight continued in the corridor, with both seasoned legal practitioners saying they would complain to the other's professional body and Judge Murphy allegedly calling Mokhari an 'idiot'

Mokhari, the Johannesburg Bar Council Chairperson, says what happened in chambers following the courtroom scene might even escalate into a full-blown legal showdown, eNCA reports.

This certainly is a case of misconduct. And as we mentioned, your workplace isn't immune to it either. And that's why you need to know how to deal with it.

Here are two ways you can use to discipline your employees for misconduct

#1: Informal discipline

Verbal warnings: Informal discipline is often more effective than formal measures.

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says that verbal warnings represent the first stage of disciplinary action. These warnings are given informally to individual employees for specific acts of less serious misconduct, such as:

  • Late-coming
  • Poor time-keeping
  • Inappropriate dress
  • Using bad language.

These warnings are 'friendly' reminders that if the employee continues with the misconduct, more serious disciplinary action will follow.

The purpose of the warning is to remind your employee of the rule and to correct his actions. It's not to punish him.

Remember to keep a proper record of the warning for future reference.

#2: Formal disciplinary sanctions

Final written warnings: This is the last written warning you'll give to your employee to correct persistent, repeated misconduct or to correct more serious misconduct before you dismiss for misconduct.

Make sure you follow these follow these five rules when you need to issue a final written warning.

The bottom line: Reserve dismissal for instances of serious misconduct or repeated misconduct, where less severe sanctions like the ones mentioned above haven't corrected the misconduct.

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