Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Dismissible offence?

  1. #1
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Limpopo
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts

    Dismissible offence?

    My bookkeeper paid a total sum of R 52 000 into the wrong supplier's account.
    This was done (erroneously) via two cash deposits over two months.
    To make matters worse, we were no longer trading with this supplier (who's account the money was deposited in) as they had recently gone bankrupt.
    It took four months for her to realize the error was hers, at which point she contacted the company who told her they were now being liquidated. She then contacted the liquidators who said she would have to await the outcome of the liquidation to see if she was going to be able to recoup any of the money.
    The latest correspondence from the liquidators indicates that there is basically no hope of any payout.

    I now want to end my working relationship with this employee for a variety of reasons. Retirement (as mentioned in this earlier post http://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/s...-staff-options) is apparently not an option.

    Before entering into negotiations with her, I would like to know if I have any legal grounds to dismiss her for this error should things turn sour?

    Some extra details that might affect the situation are
    • It has been almost two years since the incident.
    • She has admitted in writing that the responsibility of the error lies soley with her
    • She has offered in writing to repay the full amount of money lost
    • She did have opportunities to pick up on her error earlier than she did - the supplier who should have received the payment notified her that they hadn't, several times
    • No disciplinary action was taken at the time of the incident - however the employee was made aware, and accepted, that this would be handled once the liquidation/refund issue was complete.


    I am hoping that through negotiation I will be able to terminate the relationship amicably, but would like to know if I have the higher ground should this not pan out.

  2. #2
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Had enough
    Posts
    3,360
    Thanks
    114
    Thanked 214 Times in 202 Posts
    Im puzzled why you want to end the relationship now ? Clearly it is not because of the money because you would have done that 2 years ago, so there must be something else ....

  3. #3
    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    338
    Thanks
    33
    Thanked 105 Times in 86 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    I would like to know if I have any legal grounds to dismiss her for this error should things turn sour?
    You've answered your own question:

    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    • It has been almost two years since the incident.
    • No disciplinary action was taken at the time of the incident
    No, you can't dismiss her for this now.

    While employers aren't legally required to institute disciplinary and dismissal procedures immediately, unnecessary delays will jeopardise the fairness of the action and there is legal precedent to this effect. For example, in Riekert vs CCMA, an employee was dismissed for accessing management materials without authorisation. The Labour Court ruled that the dismissal was unfair because the disciplinary hearing was held several months after the incident with no justification for the delay.

    In your case, you knew about the incident but chose not to implement disciplinary proceedings. While you might argue that the decision was justified on the basis that you needed time to recoup the money, the misconduct was known at the time even if the consequences were unclear.

    Founder of Growth Surge - Helping entrepreneurs create more wealth and enjoy more freedom.

  4. Thanks given for this post:

    SCW (23-Aug-17)

  5. #4
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Limpopo
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
    Thanks Greig, fair enough.
    I had hoped that due to the fact that the liquidation and possible recovery of the money was still pending, I would have grounds for a delayed disciplinary hearing.
    For interests sake (and hopefully not future reference) would this have been grounds for immediate dismissal had it been dealt with at the time?

  6. #5
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Limpopo
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by HR Solutions View Post
    Im puzzled why you want to end the relationship now ? Clearly it is not because of the money because you would have done that 2 years ago, so there must be something else ....
    Correct, everything has a shelf life. This particular employee is a friend of the family, so my father, and more recently myself, have overlooked poor attendance, performance and diligence for a long time. I had hoped that when she turned 60 she would retire, but this didn't happen. I am now just preparing myself for all possible outcomes, as the time has come to upgrade.

  7. #6
    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    338
    Thanks
    33
    Thanked 105 Times in 86 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    For interests sake (and hopefully not future reference) would this have been grounds for immediate dismissal had it been dealt with at the time?
    That's a tough call. On the one hand, I've seen dismissals on the same basis upheld. On the other hand, you have to factor in mitigating circumstances. For example, the employee admitted her error and offered to repay the money. You've also indicated that has been working for your business for a very long time, and length of service is an important mitigating factor.

    From what you've shared, I think dismissal would be an excessively punitive measure for this particular incident unless there are aggravating circumstances (e.g. a poor disciplinary track record and/or a workplace policy clearly stipulating that erroneous deposits are grounds for dismissal).

    Founder of Growth Surge - Helping entrepreneurs create more wealth and enjoy more freedom.

  8. #7
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Limpopo
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Greig Whitton View Post
    From what you've shared, I think dismissal would be an excessively punitive measure for this particular incident unless there are aggravating circumstances (e.g. a poor disciplinary track record and/or a workplace policy clearly stipulating that erroneous deposits are grounds for dismissal).
    For the first incident, I would have to agree with you. Doing it a second time a month later and failing to check her deposit slips when the rightful recipient complained that they hadn't received their money? Hmm...
    I had a quick look at your blog about Disciplined discipline, I have some learning to do obviously.

  9. #8
    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    338
    Thanks
    33
    Thanked 105 Times in 86 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    For the first incident, I would have to agree with you. Doing it a second time a month later and failing to check her deposit slips when the rightful recipient complained that they hadn't received their money? Hmm...
    That's a fair point. If you had issued a final written warning after the first incident, you could definitely have justified dismissal after the second.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCW View Post
    I had a quick look at your blog about Disciplined discipline, I have some learning to do obviously.
    Thanks for taking the time to check it out. We just recently (today actually!) began a series of webinars on discipline and dismissal for our clients. Please PM me if you're interested.

    Founder of Growth Surge - Helping entrepreneurs create more wealth and enjoy more freedom.

  10. #9
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Limpopo
    Posts
    49
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Greig Whitton View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to check it out. We just recently (today actually!) began a series of webinars on discipline and dismissal for our clients. Please PM me if you're interested.
    I will do so soon, thanks.

Similar Threads

  1. Detained for criminal offence - Abscond rules
    By IMHO in forum Labour Relations and Legislation Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 17-May-18, 09:58 AM
  2. serious crimminal offence
    By murdock in forum General Chat Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-Feb-12, 08:26 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •