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You can sack those lazy slackers... But just make sure you do it right!

by , 25 February 2014
There's only one thing worse than carrying deadweight... And that's paying the dead-weight you're carrying! The good news is, you can fire them but you must follow these 12 golden rules when firing an employee. If you don't, you could easily find yourself losing at the CCMA - and fork out huge sums of money in compensation, or even have to re-instate the employee.

So let's have a look at the best way to show that bad employee the door...

Don't lose at the CCMA because of a technicality!
So, your employee walks into your office drunk as a skunk accosting his fellow employees, causing havoc in the office and even damaging your property!
Your immediate reaction is to fire him on the spot. You have an open and shut case, right?

Don't make a single decision until you've read this urgent report on the number one the technicality that makes employers lose at the CCMA over and over again.

12 Golden rules to follow when dismissing an employee

Rule#1: Be very clear on your reason for dismissal
Whatever your reasons for wanting to get rid of an employee, be specific. You must also be able to motivate your decision to dismiss him with good reasons regarding both his guilt and why you think dismissal is necessary.
Rule#2: Always hold a hearing
Never fire an employee without giving him a hearing. No matter how serious the misconduct or how poor his work performance has been, you might not have all the facts. A hearing helps you gather all the valuable evidence to make a more informed decision.
Rule#3: State the charges clearly and simply
Describe what you say your employee did wrong in plain and simple language. Your employee must know what case he has to defend. Calling it 'gross negligence' means nothing unless you state clearly what he did that amounts to gross negligence.
Rule#4: Act calmly and rationally
If you're angry, you won't investigate the facts properly. You may hold a disciplinary hearing or dismiss without being clear on exactly what your employee did wrong. If your decision to dismiss isn't properly motivated and backed up with facts, you run the risk the CCMA will overturn your decision. You'll probably land up paying him out and having to re-instate him. So just make sure you don't let your emotions get the better of you.
Rule#5: Take time to verify all the facts
Take the time to make sure you have all the facts before you decide to discipline and before you decide what the allegations should be. Don't rely on what you heard from others without verifying the facts yourself.

Rule#6: Appoint an impartial chairperson
If you can't find someone impartial in the company, use an outside person to chair the hearing. If it's a complicated case, rather use someone with legal training.
Rule#7: Don't deny your employee representation
You don't have to allow legal representation, although in complicated cases you may have to consider his request. But allow a fellow employee to represent him. If he's a union member, let a shop steward represent him.
Rule#8: Follow your own policies and procedures
Never fire someone without following all the steps in your disciplinary procedure or policy. The CCMA doesn't have sympathy for employers who don't comply with their own procedures or policies.
Rule#9: Consider any mitigating factors
A mitigating factor is something that suggests a more lenient penalty when an employee is guilty of misconduct. For example, the employee's been working for you for a long time and has never been guilty of a serious offence before. Never fire your employee without looking at mitigating factors. Give him a chance to explain himself.
Rule#10: Consider an alternative penalty
If a different penalty will correct his behaviour and you haven't lost all trust in him, impose the lesser penalty. This'll also give him the chance to correct his behaviour.
Rule#11: Make sure you give the right amount of notice
Make sure you follow your employment contract and give the right amount of notice, or pay the right amount in lieu of notice.
Rule#12: Don't give a good reference
Don't dismiss an employee for poor performance and then give him a reference that says he was a good performer. You'll be misleading prospective future employers. It'll also give him evidence he could use against you if he refers a dispute to the CCMA. So before you throw the 'dead-weight' overboard, make sure you've made him walk the plank first...

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Until next time

Taryn Strugnell

P.S. Find out about the number one reason three out of five businesses lose at the CCMA and the one tool that'll help you avoid all those tricky labour law curveballs! Click here...

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