A lot of thought and effort is however necessary when dealing with employee grievances, or personal problems.
While it is true that no statute specifically requires employers to solve their employee's personal problems there are many circumstances under which employers would be foolish to ignore grievances, for example:
- Where the continued existence of the problem affects employee morale, this may in turn cause a drop in productivity, increases in wastage, resignations and even conflict.
This normally occurs where the resolution of the grievance is seen by the employee as the employer's responsibility.
This would, for instance, be so if the employer moved premises, resulting in commuting problems for the employee.
- Where employees are being abused verbally or physically by a manager, the practical and legal consequences for the employer could be dire if the employer does not act quickly, fairly and effectively.
This would be the case, for instance, where the employee is being sexually harassed, insulted or bullied.
Employers are reminded of the expensive consequences for the employer in the Real Security case we discussed some months ago.
There the employer had to pay tens of thousands of rand in compensation to an employee who had been sexually harassed by a supervisor, because the employee's grievances were ignored by the employer.
Employees whose salaries are not paid to them and who receive no satisfaction from the employer when expressing such grievances are, under specific circumstances, entitled by law to resign and take the employer to the CCMA or bargaining council for constructive dismissal (a type of forced resignation).