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Yengeni's drunk driving arrest highlights the importance of dealing with your employee's arrest correctly

by , 14 August 2013
ANC national executive committee member Tony Yengeni has had another run in with the law. He spent Sunday night in police cells after being arrested for drunk driving in Cape Town. Yengeni was arrested for the same offence in 2007. He's expected to appear in court in March next year. While the ANC has remained silent on the matter, you can't afford to do that. Here's what you must and mustn't do when your employee has been arrested.

On instinct, you'll probably want to fire an employee who's been arrested or locked up in a police cell, or even serving a prison sentence.

Don't!

This could be a big mistake that could land you at the labour court.

Here's what you must and mustn't do to ensure you follow a fair disciplinary process.

Five dos and don'ts when employee's been arrested

DOS:

#1: When you don't hear from your employee, do whatever you can to find him:

  • Contact his home;
  • Send him a message and advise him to contact you;
  • Speak to his colleagues;
  • Phone his cell phone; and
  • Contact local hospitals and police stations.

Using these methods will help you find out if he needs help and when you can expect him to return to work.

#2: If your employee's been arrested, keep in touch with the authorities to ensure you're up to date on his return to work.

#3: If you hold a hearing, make sure you give all the evidence to a presiding officer who thoroughly understands labour legislation and all the possible pitfalls. This means you must ensure the hearing is procedurally fair, advises the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

#4: Only consider dismissal if the arrest or imprisonment of your employees affects your business.

Now that you know what you must do, do you know what you mustn't do?

DON'T

#5: Don't act against your employee until you have all the facts and enough proof that disciplinary action is appropriate.

Remember, you can't dismiss your employee just because he's been arrested. It's against his legal right to a fair disciplinary process and could land up costing you big for reinstatement or compensation.

Knowing what to do and what not to do when your employee has been arrested will ensure you follow a fair disciplinary process.

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