WARNINGS: an explanation.
1. Verbal warnings, these are issued to an employee informally by a line manager or the owner of a small business. It is important to not take such a warning lightly as it will be a blemish on your record and it stands for three months.
2. Written warnings, this is issued to an employee formally. The employee is asked to sign the warning. The employee does not need to sign the warning, however take note that if the employee does not sign the written warning the employee must not think that because they did not sign the warning it will not apply to them. These warnings last for six months, this is quite serious.
3. Final written warnings, this is potentially the last chance. The employer will most likely request the employee attends a disciplinary hearing and explain themselves before issuing a final written warning. These warnings last twelve months.
An employee must read the companies code of conduct, employees should be given access to the company’s code of conduct and made aware of any changes made to it. The code of conduct should set out the necessary sanctions imposed for breaching certain company policies.
Most companies impose, final written warnings and dismissal as the only sanctions for breach of even minor company policies. This is not recommended as it opens the employer up to a challenge at the CCMA.
An employee could have multiple warnings issued against them over a period of at least one year. You could receive a verbal warning for misconduct, a written warning for capacity it depends on the company’s policies. The misconception of three strikes and you are out only applies to instances where an employee commits the same offence three times within a twelve months period. The progression of the disciplinary action will usually be a verbal warning, written warning, final written warning and then the employee is dismissed.
In reality, most companies issue employees with a final written warning for gross misconduct and dismiss the employee on their next offence.
If an employee is issued with a warning, the employer must use the warning as a tool to guide the employees or provide training. It is a tool that is a double edged sword the employer must provide evidence to show they tried to assist the employee and ensure that the employee does not commit the offence again, while also being their form of behaviour control in the work place.
An employee can always appeal a warning, this can be done by way of the companies internal grievance procedure or an application can be made to the CCMA.