Every retail business is faced with stock and or cash shortages. In South Africa there seems to be only one way of dealing with these shortages or theft of cash. The employer has to ensure that:
1. shortages and theft of cash are dismissal offences in the disciplinary code of the business, this has to be CLEARLY NOTED in the code.
2. The employer has to ensure that all offences are treated in the same way. Most employers have a ZERO TOLERANCE approach to theft, they will take action irrespective of the amount involved.
3. When an employer detects a theft or a shortage, they have to act immediately and after checking the facts, they have to open a criminal case for theft. Theft is a criminal offence, the employee must be arrested and charged by the police. A case number MUST be obtained from the police for future use at a CCMA or bargaining council hearing.
4. They have to suspend the employee and remove them from the premises, even if the police have not yet acted on the complaint. At the same time they have to notify the employee of the date and time of the internal discilpinary hearing. If the employee is in jail, the hearing may continue without the employees presence.
5. Whoever is presenting the case on behalf of the employer at the hearing has to be TOTALLY FAMILIAR with the facts of the case, employee unions will try to discredit all evidence presented by the employer.
6. The charges MUST refer to the disciplinary code of the business with reference to theft or shortages. The supporting documentation will be all the transaction records that prove the theft or shortages.
7. Please note that a disciplinary hearing is NOT a criminal case where the burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is on the BALANCE OF PROBABILTY, which means that a chairperson does not have entertain wild theories when considering the evidence. Unions are especially adept at creating fictitious doubts which in many cases prevent the chairperson from delivering a verdict that reflects the evidence submitted.
Billions of Rand are lost annually to THEFT in South Africa. Contact us to find ways to limit the theft in your business.