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7 Essential Elements of an Employment Code of Conduct

A code of conduct which does not comply with the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] leaves an employer exposed to a claim for review on the ground of illegality.

It is therefore necessary to consider the characteristics of a valid code. In terms of section 101 (3)(a) of the Labour Act a code should provide for:

1. The disciplinary rules to be observed in the workplace, including the precise definition of acts and omissions that constitute misconduct.

2. The procedures to be followed in the case of breach of the code.

3. The penalties for any breach of the code, including oral or written warnings, fines, reductions in pay for a specified period, suspension with or without pay or on reduced pay, demotion and dismissal from employment.

4.  The person, committee or authority that shall be responsible for implementing and enforcing the rules, procedures and penalties of the code;

5. The notification to any person who is alleged to have breached the code that proceedings are to be commenced against him in respect of the alleged breach;

6. The right of a person referred to in number 5 above to be heard by the appropriate person, committee or authority referred in 2.4 above before any decision in his case is made;

7. A written record or summary to be made of any proceedings or decisions taken in terms of the employment code, which record or summary shall be made at the time such proceedings and decisions are taken.

At the very minimum an employer’s code of conduct should provide for all of the above elements.

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