When an employee committed serious misconduct, employers usually suspend the employee (with full remuneration) until the scheduled date and time of their disciplinary hearing, assuming that the pre-suspension and suspension procedure has been followed correctly and complied with.
But what happens if the employee does not appear at his disciplinary hearing as scheduled and the employee is absent to receive his notice of postponement of the hearing and/or the employee ignores any communication from the employer?
Communication with suspended employees
Employers can send a message in the form of a sms (must activate delivery report) and/or an email (must activate delivery and send receipt) instructing the employee to immediately report for duty and that their suspension has only been in force until the hearing date.
If the employee does report for duty, the necessary postponement of hearing document can be served on the employee and such hearing can continue on the postponement date if the employee is absent again. If the employee further fails to report for duty and 5 consecutive days has lapsed after the sms and/or email has been sent, a desertion notice can then be sent to the employee via registered post to the last known address containing the following charges:
- Desertion; alternatively
- Absenteeism without leave for the period since your failure to report for duty until the date of your return;
- Failing to notify your employer of your absence and expected date of return; and
- All the other charges which the employee were charged for initially.
If the employee does attend the desertion hearing (before or after the scheduled date), a hearing may continue but no attendance by the employee results in desertion and the employer may mark the employee as “status unknown” with their salary stopped.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frikkie van Tonder obtained his Bcomm Law degree in 2009 from the University of the Free State. He was registered as a candidate attorney in 2010 with Vermaak & Dennis Attorneys in Bloemfontein. In 2011, he obtained his LLB degree from the University of the Free State and completed his articles of clerkship in 2012. In April 2012, the he was admitted as an Attorney in die Free State High Court, Bloemfontein. After admission, he practised as an attorney for 2.5 years before joining SEESA Labour in 2015 as a legal advisor.