BY Ivan israelstam, Chief Executive of Labour Law Management Consulting. He may be contacted on (011) 888-7944 or 0828522973 or on e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web address: www.labourlawadvice.co.za Last week’s article discussed the unfair practice of illegally entrapping a suspected employee in order to prove him/her guilty of misconduct. I explained that illegal entrapment occurs when the employer unduly induces an employee to break a rule as opposed merely to providing an opportunity for the employee to break that rule. I mentioned that illegal entrapment is not the only unfair method used by parties to ensure that an employee is found guilty or not guilty. Numerous other unfair methods may be used at disciplinary hearings, appeal hearings and arbitration hearings. These unsavoury tactics include the falsification of documents, the influencing of witnesses, coercing employees to make admissions or confessions and tampering with audio and video tapes. It can also happen that the employer instructs the chairperson of a disciplinary hearing to dismiss the accused employee regardless of the evidence brought. It is even possible for a party to attempt to bribe or otherwise influence an arbitrator or presiding officer to make a decision contrary to the evidence. Such methods might be used because there is a lot at stake. But this is obviously not a justification for dishonest practices. Let us look at these unfair tactics in more detail: Falsification or Fabrication of Documents. This could take the form of:
- An employee getting a medical certificate forged by the doctor’s assistant or from a business specialising in selling certificates
- The accused employee falsifying a letter from a supplier stating that the missing cash refund had not been given to the employee.
- An employer fabricating a letter from a client complaining that the employee was rude to the client.