What is Discipline?
- The process of maintaining compliance with the rules of the Company.
- There must be rules for conduct to maintain order in the workplace.
- Non-compliance to rules usually results in punishment to correct behaviour.
What is the purpose of Disciplinary Rules & Regulations?
- To provide general guidelines indicating the standard of performance and conduct required of all employees.
- To provide a uniforms set of disciplinary rules and regulations which:
- Employees are expected to abide by; and
- Managers are expected to uphold.
What is generally expected of Employees?
- Be familiar with and observe the company’s rules and regulations.
- Ignorance is not a valid reason for a transgression.
What is generally expected of the Employer?
- Rules are fair and reasonable.
- Employees are aware of the rules, or could reasonably by expected to be aware thereof.
- Rules are applied consistently.
- Appropriateness of sanctions if rules were transgressed.
Over and above Company rules, both parties must abide by Common Law duties of employment.
What Common Law duties must Employees abide by?
- Place their services at the disposal of the Employer.
- Keep the required hours.
- Perform duties in a satisfactory manner to an acceptable standard.
- Obey lawful and reasonable instructions.
- Observe the Employer’s rules and not commit acts of misconduct.
- Act in good faith and in the Employer’s best interests.
What Common Law duties must Employers abide by?
- Provide the agreed terms of employment.
- Pay the agreed salary or wage and provide the employee with work.
- Provide safe working conditions.
- Deal with employees in a fair manner
What happens if Disciplinary Rules are contravened?
- Transgressions may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Such action must be Procedurally and Substantively Fair.
What does Procedural Fairness require?
- Compliance with the Company’s Disciplinary Procedures.
- Compliance with the Law (relevant to discipline).
What does Substantive Fairness require?
- The evidence must prove guilt.
- The penalty must fit the crime.
Are there different levels of disciplinary action?
- Some transgressions are more serious than others.
- LEVEL 1: LESS SERIOUS (MINOR) TRANSGRESSIONS
- The Employee’s manager handles breaches of these rules, through counselling and progressive disciplinary measures up to a written warning.
- Examples of minor transgressions include late coming and negligence.
- LEVEL 2: SERIOUS (MAJOR) TRANSGRESSIONS
- A formal disciplinary enquiry must be convened for such breaches.
- If found guilty, potential sanctions may include final written warnings, dismissals with/without notice, summary dismissal, etc.
- Examples of major transgressions include dishonesty, assault, gross negligence and insubordination.
- Employees must know what the rules are. Communicate them!
- You cannot abide by the rules (or enforce the rules) if you don’t know what the rules are.
- Familiarise yourself with the Disciplinary Rules and Disciplinary Procedure of your Company to ensure compliance.
Compiled by : Rene de Waal
For more information on understanding the procedural and substantive fairness requirements of the Labour Relations Act of 1995, click here.