HomeHome SearchSearch MenuMenu Our productsOur products

'Help, I've got a Lindsay Lohan in my office!' Can you fire an employee for going to rehab?

by , 11 July 2013
It's hard to fault someone for trying to rehabilitate from drugs or alcohol. But what if your employee has been booked into a rehab facility when they're supposed to be at work and your company's losing money because of it? Can you dismiss the employee? Read on and find out what South African Labour Law has to say about the matter...

If one of your workers has a drug or alcohol problem, it's best that they seek treatment.

But what happens to their position when they're booked into weeks or months of in-patient rehab?

If you've got a Lindsay Lohan in your office, keep these warnings in mind when dealing with an employee who's gone to rehab.

Is your EE Report ready to meet the DoL requirements?

If the DoL isn't satisfied, it could slap you with a crippling R900 000 fine!

To be on the safe side, I suggest you attend the FSP Business Employment Equity Workshops on the 7th and 8th of August. Join our EE expert Janine Niewoudt and let her guide you through every step of the EE process so you DON'T have to worry about that enormous fine.
You'll walk out confident that you'll pass the DoL test with flying colours. Plus, you'll get a pack of clear and comprehensive notes compiled by our expert, so you can refer back to them whenever you need a reminder.

The EE expert is here to help you…

So book today! And if you book now you qualify for the Early Bird Discount. Click here for more information.

First, you must treat rehab as medical leave

Cases at the CCMA have set a precedent that alcoholism is seen as a disease (Black Mountain vs. CCMA, 2005) and dismissing someone for their disease alone is unfair. If they're booked into a registered and recognised rehabilitation centre, allow them to use their sick leave just as you would if they were having an operation.

According to Labour Law for Managers, you must grant 30 working days' sick leave for every cycle of 36 consecutive months that the employee works at your company.

If your worker uses up all their sick leave, you can start deducting absent days as annual leave. Make sure you communicate this to the employee and that they understand that you can't grant them unlimited sick leave.

Rehab is temporary incapacity

As long as the employee's addiction wasn't affecting their work negatively before they left (i.e. there were no conflict, insubordination or performance issues) their stay (whether it's a one month or three month stay)  in rehab will only be temporary.

And that means you must try to accommodate their absence and find a temporary replacement. If however, their stay in rehab becomes prolonged, you may have to start an incapacity process.

As The South African Labour Guide explains, if you want to fire someone for having an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you must follow the proper incapacity process and prove that their addiction makes them unfit for work.

Your guide to substantively and procedurally fair dismissals

Take charge of poor performers and fire that problem employee! Legally!

Our experts have done all the hard work for. In You're fired!' Your guide to substantively and procedurally fair dismissals, you'll get everything you need to confidently dismiss employees and be sure that it was done legally.

What would you give for the opportunity to have three of South Africa's top labour law and HR experts on your side?

Now you can!

And it's so easy! With You're fired!' Your guide to substantively and procedurally fair dismissals, you'll have the combined experience and knowledge from more than 50 years in the industry. You won't find this anywhere else.

You can now dismiss an employee confidently!


Vote article

'Help, I've got a Lindsay Lohan in my office!' Can you fire an employee for going to rehab?
Note: 5 of 1 vote

Related articles

Related articles

Related Products