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Dealing with poor performance? Here's how the Court looks at discipline for poor performance and your responsibilities

by , 30 March 2015
If you were to give a definition of poor performance, what would that be? On what basis would you form your theory and definition? And would you be 100% sure of your idea of poor performance?

The truth is that as an employer you have many responsibilities on this perspective. It's really up to you to evaluate your employee and see if the work results meet the standards.

But let us look at what the Court has to say when dealing with cases of poor performance.

You should know that  when it comes to poor performance, The Labour Appeal Court (LAC) states the following:


– You're entitled to set the standards you require the employee to meet. The Court won't intervene unless those standards are grossly unreasonable;

– It's up to you to assess if the employee meets those standards. Again, the Court won't interfere unless the assessment is grossly unreasonable;

– You prove your case on a balance of probabilities.

So far, like we said, many responsibilities fall on your side!


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Evaluate your employees regularly

You should know that, in practice, the LAC wants you to evaluate your employee on a regular basis. You must use this time to communicate any problems, and the extent of those problems with him.

Moreover, the employee also has the chance to explain the reasons for his shortcomings. You'll be in a position to counsel him about what you expect from him.

You should stipulate a time within which you'll give him the chance to improve. Tell him about the possible consequences if he doesn't meet the standards at the end of the time frame.

Too many responsibilities for you? It should be so since it is your business we're talking about. Here are some more...

You have to also look into the circumstances around his poor performance before you think about dismissal. It doesn't have to be a formal enquiry. It can be meetings between you and the employee, or his representative. Investigate the extent of the problem, determine the reasons behind it, and work towards a solution.

Also, make the employee aware of the seriousness of the situation if the poor performance continues. The courts have held you must give the employee a clear ultimatum that failure to improve performance could lead to dismissal.

These are also management tips, so use them well and hopefully your team will excel and no Court will ever be involved in the story!

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