Dismissal for dishonesty during a disciplinary hearing

An employee who colluded to corroborate a false statement regarding a breach of Covid-19 protocols by a fellow employee was charged with gross dishonesty. Dismissed, and the dismissal was found to be fair the CCMA.  He assisted a fellow employee by attempting to deceive the employer regarding the facts in the disciplinary hearing.

The background was that two co-workers hugged one another in a greeting, which was in breach of the Covid regulations. The employer claimed he had colluded with the fellow employee to protect his colleague by misrepresenting what actually happened on the day. The incident was videotaped, and the footage directly contradicted the employees’ claim.

In considering whether the employee ought to have been given a final written warning rather than dismissal referred to precedent which stated:

“…the importance of the rule and the implications of its transgression must be an essential consideration in determining whether dismissal is justified. A further consideration ought to be the implications of being lenient in the application of an important rule and the message such lenience sends to other employees regarding the infringement of such a rule. The need to deter other employees from committing the same misconduct is a response to risk management and is as legitimate a reason for dismissal as a breakdown in trust.”

The CCMA found that dishonesty during disciplinary proceedings warranted dismissal to deter others from committing the same offence, and to maintain the legitimacy of the disciplinary process.

Honesty is an inherent requirement of an employment relationship, and an employer should be able to rely on an employee’s honest testimony in disciplinary hearings.

Source: Ntini v In2Food Group (Pty) Ltd [2022] 2 BALR 177 (CCMA). Transnet Freight Rail v Transnet Bargaining Council and others [2011] 6 BLLR 594 (LC)Werksmans Attorneys 

Mark - 07:40 @ Industrial Relations, Human Resources | Add a comment