How to deal with it?
This charge could result from many things – it could be insubordination in the presence of customers or suppliers, spreading false rumours about the employer, making untrue statements to the media or to customers, rebellious or mutinous behaviour in public, disrespectful statements about the employer and managers, attacking the ethics of the employer or a breach of confidentiality.
What to look for?
Establish the position held in the company by the offender, and their degree of responsibility.
Get statements from witnesses as to what happened (what, when, who, why, and how). Identify the sensitivity of the information that was disclosed, or the content of what rumours were spread, a copy of the social media post in which the untrue statements were made, and so on. Try to establish the extent of any damage and the nature of any damage suffered by the employer.
Then decide on the charge and make up the charge sheet.
What must the investigator prove at the disciplinary enquiry?
They must present their evidence to show that the accused employee did in fact do what they are accused of, and they must present evidence to show the nature and extent of the damage suffered by the employer or could have been suffered by the employer.
The damage suffered by the employer might include the loss of certain clients, who have taken their business elsewhere as a result of statements made by the accused employee.
The investigator can emphasize the seniority of the employee, what was expected of them, the fact that the employee should have known better and should have known that they must not do such things, and so on.
They can emphasize or introduce into evidence the employee’s common law duties, as well as making reference to the employer’s policies and procedures and disciplinary code regulating such behaviour.
Common law duties of an employee –
Be at work and render his/her services.
Perform his/her services competently, without negligence (due care and diligence when using the employer’s property).
Respect and obey all the reasonable and lawful instructions of his/her employer.
Act in good faith. In other words, not to use or distribute confidential information of his/her employer or compete with his/her employer, but to act honestly and to promote the business of his/her employer.
Not commit misconduct.