Dismissing for looting

The media is full of images of looting in South Africa.  What action can you take if you identify an employee looting a supermarket? Usually what an employee does outside working hours is of no concern to the employer, even criminal acts. But that’s not always the case. 

If the employee’s behaviour results in the destruction of the relationship of trust between the employee and the employer, dismissal may be appropriate, and there must be a connection between the looting and the trust relationship. There must be

- a link between the employee’s conduct, their duties, the employer’s business or the workplace; and

- the employer must have a sufficient and legitimate interest in the conduct of the employee outside working hours or outside the workplace.

If there is a link, disciplinary action may be appropriate.

The courts have identified that the link exists where the employee’s conduct has a detrimental or intolerable effect on the efficiency, profitability, continuity or good name and reputation of the employer’s business

Instances which may connect employee looting and your business could be:

- The employee wearing their work uniform while looting, thereby identifying the employer.
- The employee could be considered the “face of the business” like management or sales staff, etc.
- The nature of the offence impacts on the employee’s duties or on the operation of the business. For example, the identified employee works in a retail store and as such, is entrusted with the employer’s stock.

The mere fact that an employer has identified employees in the looting footage does not mean that they automatically have a right to discipline or dismiss employees.
Source: www.ensafrica.com

Mark - 06:14 | 1 comment