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Mike Otis
Mike Otis, Legal Advisor
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2161
Experience:  B.Comm; LL.B; LL.M.
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I was recently called into my managers office and handed a

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I was recently called into my manager's office and handed a written warning for Gross Insubordination valid for six (6) months.

The first instance of insubordination pertain to my failure to submit a shift report - although on the two (2) instances he refers to, I was on days off and were for obvious reasons not able to submit the report and in the second instance my member of staff who was supposed to submit the report called in sick and was therefore not at work.

The second instance of insubordination pertains to my failure to schedule a meeting, although the only correspondence sent to me regarding the meeting was sent while I was away on leave.

My manager argued that he on numerous occasions asked me to do these things although the only evidence he produced was an e-mail relating to another matter where he asked me to come and talk to him and explain why I am so demotivated and apparently lack the urgency to deliver.

At the time of being furnished with the letter, my HR manager was present - I accepted that I did not submit the shift reports and indeed did not schedule the meeting. I did not argue the fact - being on days off and leave - as my manager had obviously already made up his mind.

Given the seriousness with which I view the sanction:
1. Should I not have been afforded the opportunity of a disciplinary hearing?
2. The fact that I was on days off, does this still make me insubordinate?
3. None of my actions put the company's ability to generate revenue under threat or put any of its assets at risk.
4. I have been working for the company for 18 and a half years and prior to this incident have not had so much as a counselling session.

What are my options, if any?

Thanks you,
Deon Basson
Welcome, and thank you for your question.

1. Should I not have been afforded the opportunity of a disciplinary hearing?

Most definitely, in terms of the prevailing labour legislation, you are entitled to a fair procedure in terms of which you are given an equal opportunity to state your side of the story before a finding is made and the sanction imposed. Failure by the employer to follow due process amounts to an unfair labour practice.


2. The fact that I was on days off, does this still make me insubordinate?

That will depend on the circumstances of the case, your duties and responsibilities and the normal practice at your employer, so I can unfortunately not say.


3. None of my actions put the company's ability to generate revenue under threat or put any of its assets at risk.

These circumstances appear to be more related to the nature of the sanction that may be imposed if found guilty after a fair process was followed.


4. I have been working for the company for 18 and a half years and prior to this incident have not had so much as a counselling session.

Similar to 3 above, these circumstances relate to the sanction - if found guilty.

Yours faithfully
Mike Otis and other South Africa Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Yours faithfully,