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WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15593
Experience:  L.LB (UOVS)
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A Customer has advised us that one of our Technical Teams drove

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A Customer has advised us that one of our Technical Teams drove (in our company vehicle) onto their site last week (this, by the way was not their assigned working site, this team was assigned to other customer sites) and removed machinery belonging to the customer. The customer also (during his investigation) learned that our Teams' vehicle was heavily loaded with goods (undetermined). This technical team work on Electronic systems and their vehicle is only mildly stocked with small electronic components and one tool box. This customer site in question (the complainant) has entrance and exit security in place - their attendance book states our vehicle with this same team (not EVER assigned to their site) entered their premises on three consecutive days last week in our company vehicle. How best do we handle this matter especially as they are not only misappropriating their working hours, but causing "damage" and mistrust of our company with our customer(s).
Good day.

This is an info request to assist you better. Please continue on this thread.

Is this company that they visited the site at willing to work with you in a disciplinary hearing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have not fully established that, but they brought the complaint to us and have indicated that they expect us to deal with the offenders.

Is this company a client of yours?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Just to confirm: The inference is that this team is stealing equipment from them?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, that is what the client reported to us. They went to the customer site three times last week (per the clients security entrance book)- on two of the days an unknown name was written on signing in, on the other day the driver wrote his own name. On all three days, they signed in with our vehicle registration number and the customer confirmed on the day he discovered goods missing, an accurate description of our vehicle - Make and colour. Our vehicle is sign written with our company name and is the only one of that colour in our company.

The only way of getting rid of an employee is through disciplinary hearings. I assume you know the procedure, but if not, I will give you an overview below.

The South Africa Labour Legislation require that, before you can dismiss an employee, it must be for a fair reason, following a fair procedure. The Department of Labour has issued a Code of Good Practice which stipulate the minimum requirements for fair procedure and a list of fair reasons. This can be accessed at

Basically, with regard to fair procedure, it normally entails a disciplinary hearing. In order to conduct a disciplinary hearing, you would have to give the employee notice of such a hearing. The notice must contain the following information:

1. The date, place and time of the hearing.
2. The charge against the employee
3. The employees rights, which would include:
• The right to present evidence.
• The right to present witnesses
• The right to cross examine the witnesses of the employer and the evidence of the employer
• The right to be represented by a co-worker or a union representative

At the hearing itself, the best practice would be to get an expert in to assist you, preferably someone impartial, however, if the cost of this is an issue to you, then you can ask someone to chair your disciplinary hearing, however, it is imperative that such a person exercises his judgment impartially.

A hearing will normally follow the same procedure as a trial at court, just a lot more formal. The employer will be given an opportunity to prove the charge and the employee will be given an opportunity to state his/her side of the story. Both employer and employee are allowed to cross-examine each other's versions as well as the versions of each of the witnesses.

Once the presiding officer has come to a decision, the employer and employee has to be informed of the decision in writing.

It is imperative that the employer as well as the chairperson take detailed notes of the proceedings and to store this for at least a year.

Note that this is not the only procedure, but this is the most appropriate procedure in most instances. The Act does allow for an even more informal procedure, where the employer both chair the hearing and act as prosecutor, however, this should only be employed where the issues are not complex.

Your problem is that you are going to have to prove theft and you are going to need the assistance of your client in doing so. Alternatively, you can put a charge to them that they were absent from their assigned site without leave. Both charges should be put to them to give you a broader opportunity to get rid of them.

I hope this helps you somewhat. If you have follow up questions, feel free to ask them at no extra cost. If you are satisfied with the answer, kindly rate me positively. I get nothing if you don't rate.
WCLawyer, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 15593
Experience: L.LB (UOVS)
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