Despite the fact that Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act sets out a concise process that Employer’s should follow when an employee is not performing or reaching targets, it is clear that the employer is certainly abusing the process to dismiss the employee on a whim without affording the employee an opportunity to reach reasonable targets.
A trend is developing where the employer continues to blur poor work performance and misconduct.
A poor work performance process identifies that an employer should make it clear what targets the employee should be reaching. These targets must be reasonable affording the employee an opportunity to reach the said standards/targets. The expectations must be discussed with the employee and the employee must understand what is expected of them, and afforded a reasonable period to reach such targets.
Throughout the process, the employer is obliged to have regular performance appraisal meetings and to assess the employee’s performance. Training and assistance must also happen if necessary. An employer should not increase the target as it pleases, until such time as the employee is reaching the previous set target or performance standards.
Employers tend to hand out warnings at different times during the performance process. Written warnings can only be a result of disciplinary hearings for misconduct with dismissals as a last resort. Many employers tend to charge an employee for negligence or even gross negligence because of poor work performance. These written warnings are then used to claim that progressive discipline has been implemented and therefore dismissal is appropriate.
This approach is plainly wrong and should not be condoned. Misconduct and poor work performance are separate and should follow two separate processes.
In a nutshell an employer should wear glasses when following a poor work performance process as blurring poor work performance and misconduct could possibly lead to double compensation for the employee.
MISA is just a phone call away!