Advice on Misconduct in the Workplace What is Misconduct?
By: Fatima Begum Sardiwalla

Advice on Misconduct in the Workplace What is Misconduct?

It is an exciting time when many aspirant young school leavers and graduates enter the workforce for the first time. Life as a student allows you freedom in many ways. In the workplace individuals are governed by many rules regulations and company policies. Cell phones and social media place many demands on individuals. Whilst unemployed you can update your profile picture as often as you want , post selfies , like Facebook posts as they arrive, hop onto Pintrest or Instagram at your leisure. Things change when you start working and you have to focus on your work to achieve success.

 

Businesses lose many hours of production time due to use and abuse of cell phones in the workplace.

Excessive use of cell phones in the workplace is a Misconduct in the Disciplinary Code of most companies .I hope this article would help young individuals understand the pitfalls of committing a misconduct in the workplace. Read your Employment contracts carefully and be fully aware of the rules and regulations of the company. Some companies have strict rules about emails and cell phone usage or circulating of internal documents to 3rd parties. These rules have been put in place to protect the business and employees have to familiarise themselves with the rules.

 

I spoke to a young man recently who did not read the company rules, specifically the confidentiality clause relating to circulating emails which resulted in his dismissal. He definitely had no malicious intent in what he did however he broke a written rule. The disciplinary code is also an important document that is a guideline to behaviour that is unacceptable and deemed to be a misconduct.

 

The Labour Laws protect the workers and business owners alike. The LRA is all about fairness and equity. Strict rules and procedures have to be followed before a person is dismissed. The disciplinary procedure has to be followed.

 

Employees may be dismissed for misconduct. What is a misconduct? Misconduct refers to the employee's behaviour in the workplace .Cases of Misconduct involves intentional or negligent fault on the part of the Employee. Some examples of misconduct are Negligence, frequent absenteeism or late coming, fighting in the workplace , Insubordination (Failure to follow an instruction), Theft and Fraud, dishonesty, unauthorised use or abuse of company property or equipment or a breach of a company rule or condition of employment. This does not automatically mean that a person can be fired immediately for an alleged misconduct.

 

Corrective action has to be taken by Management against Employees who are in breach of their contracts on account of misconduct. The disciplinary Procedure has been put in place to put proper processes for dealing with misconduct in a manner which is predictable, consistent and fair. So if a person comes in late on a regular basis or abuses the telephone at work he is given a warning so that he is aware that his actions are detrimental to the company. In this way he is given an opportunity to correct his behaviour. Should he fail to correct his behaviour by repeating the misconduct more severe action may be taken in the form of warnings and depending on the severity of the offence he may be dismissed. The business cannot afford to keep staff if they repeated break the rules of the company.

 

In my future articles I will discuss the Disciplinary Process in detail and I hope it will help Employees and business owners to understand the process better in order to have a peaceful and harmonious work environment.

Fatima Begum Sardiwalla – Labour Specialists Employer Solutions -0827860035

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