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Thread: Help on disciplinary procedures

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    Full Member Jane123's Avatar
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    Help on disciplinary procedures

    Hi Guys- hoping some of the labour fundies can help me out....

    We have employed someone to help in our accounts department and it has since come out that she has been disclosing and discussing the salaries of certain staff members. Now obviously staff can discuss their salaries but the accounts people have no right (I would think) to disclose the salaries of any other staff member.
    To me this is a serious offence and am wondering what the best disciplinary procedure is. I have only really dealt with poor performance, etc before so this a bit of a new one to me. Would it be breach of contract (we do have a confidentiality clause in our LOA) and it is serious enough to go straight to a first written warning?


    Paging through our labour manual but it's all so circumstantial... any professional advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

    Cheers

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    Hi Jane,

    At our company confidentiality is a very serious matter and talking about employees salaries will not be tolerated. It will be immediate dismissal, but it is stipulated in our contracts as such. I would suggest that you have a look at the contract she signed and see what it says (you cant dismiss her if it does not say so in the contract)

    If you can not dismiss her I would say it is serious enough for first written warning and a serious talk - salaries are such a sensitive thing (that one gets more than me, but does less blah blah blah)

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    Full Member Jane123's Avatar
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    Thanks Dientjie!- I feel the exact same way about it so glad I am justified in my thinking! We do have a clause about confidentiality so will check out the exact wording. Thanks for the help

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    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    Yes at the very least a written warning. It is a very serious breach of confidentiality !
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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    A person in the accounts department should know that disclosing personal information is unacceptable.
    It would be a tacit term of the contract.

    The offence warrants a final written warning. Progressive discipline seeks to allow an employee the chance to correct, but clearly the employer can not be expected to tolerate disclosures on a repeated basis.

    Dismissal could be considered - but you need to see if their anything specific about salary disclosures. It is not a given that salaries are covered under disclosures. The length of employment would be a factor as well as previous employment experience (in other words after 10 years as an accountant I would know the sensitivity of salaries, compared to a fresh out of varsity accountant)
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Jane123 (22-Sep-15)

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    How will you prove that she disclosed the information?
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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Is there a default procedure? Can a FINAL written warning be issued without having issued at least one written warning first?

    I had various verbal talks with my employee about his lack of performance and frequent errors and ignoring me. It did not help much. I am now issuing a first written warning for insubordination and dishonesty (he lied to me). What would be the next step if this written warning does not turn him around?
    Houses4Rent
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houses4Rent View Post
    Is there a default procedure?
    If you have a disciplinary policy in place, then that would be your default procedure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Houses4Rent View Post
    Can a FINAL written warning be issued without having issued at least one written warning first?
    Yes; typically for offences falling in the SERIOUS OFFENCES range. Insubordination is often considered in this range.
    Dishonesty might be SERIOUS to EXTREMELY SERIOUS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Houses4Rent View Post
    I am now issuing a first written warning for insubordination and dishonesty (he lied to me). What would be the next step if this written warning does not turn him around?
    With that step setting the standard, I suggest the most you could do for a similar offence would be to issue a FINAL written warning. If your intent was to dismiss the employee if there was a similar offence again, you should have given a FINAL written warning on this occasion.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave. I am a 2.5 man band incl me. We do not have such policies. :-)

    For now I do not feel having to recruit from scracth again. I had too may changes last year already. So I want him to fix his issues, but failing that I want to avoid having fallen foulf of the the prodecures which could bite me later if I have to dismiss. He is a contractor, but I am aware that he is an deemed employee anyway as he has no other income.
    Houses4Rent
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    marc@houses4rent.co.za www.houses4rent.co.za
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Something told to me by a friend who is conversed in law, "make sure you have everything in writing, no matter how trivial it is at the time, it is the only way to be in control of any situation in the future"

    You should carry a book around with you, and when you issue a verbal warning, you immediately pull your book out, write time date and location and state the verbal warning in writing in the book. Get the acknowledgement signature from the person receiving the warning.

    2 things happen, first the person receiving the verbal warning immediately knows you are serious and mean business, and secondly, when the proverbial s..t hits the fan, you pull out the history that preluded the final decision.

    "He who has the most paperwork wins"
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