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2 Crimes you could be guilty of if you don't lay charges against an employee

by , 07 March 2013
- Do you have a poor work performer?

- 2 Crimes you could be guilty of if you don't lay charges against an employee

- 1 Simple step to win over any labour inspector

What do you do when your employee commits a form of misconduct that's also a criminal offence? Besides taking action in line with your policies, do you report it to the SAPS?

Two examples of misconduct and crime are:

1)    When employees are on strike and they damage private property; or
2)    An employee steals company property.

But you also have a duty to report certain crimes, such as commercial fraud or theft over R100 000 and sexual offences against children.

Having said this, you could make yourself guilty of a crime if you don't report it...  Keep reading to find out when you'll be guilty….

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Do you have a poor work performer?

Here's what you need to do to dismiss him correctly without landing at the CCMA.

Find out more here.

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2 Crimes you could be guilty of if you don't lay charges against an employee

1.    Compounding
This is when you illegally and intentionally agree not to prosecute a crime which is punishable by fine, and receive a reward/bribe for doing so.  

For example, an employee steels from you. You agree you won't lay a criminal charge if he resigns. This'll save you from having to go through disciplinary proceedings.

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1 Simple step to win over any labour inspector

By law you must have summaries of the BCE Act and EE Act displayed where your employees can see it. This will be one of the first things a labour inspector will look for.

Take this simple step for a good start to any inspection. Click here now

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2.    Defeating or obstructing the course of justice
The means committing an illegal act intended to defeat or obstruct justice, and which does. This can be committed in a variety of ways, such as:
  • Illegally inducing (or attempting to) a witness to give false evidence in court or to refuse to give evidence, or to give false information to the police, or to abscond;
  • Asking a complainant to withdraw a charge, illegally;
  • Asking a prosecutor prosecute, illegally; or
  • Misleading (or trying to) the SAPS to prevent detection of a crime they might uncover.

It's important for you to know this as you can also be held liable for a crime, not just your employees!  Section 332(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 1977

So the moral of the story… Even though there's no statutory duty on you to report crimes committed by your employees, you're still open for prosecution if you agree not to lay complaints in return for something from the employee. Or even you obstruct the course of justice by not laying a complaint.

Make sure you report crime every time!

Until next time

Lizle Louw, labour law for managers

Lizle Louw

P.S. Find out how to dismiss that problem employee legally here!

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