There are many businesses that operate as a group of companies, using multiple business entities. There’re several reasons for this, including legal risk containment, acquisition strategies, creative accounting, the curious growth path of the business, or for other reasons lost in time. Whatever the reason, doing business across multiple entities generally concerns no-one except the bookkeepers tasked with keeping some semblance of order. Until the time comes to sue. Because that’s when a little concept called locus standi could become more than a thorn in your side.
I caught a staff member stealing money from the till. I caught him red-handed and told him that I won’t lay criminal charges against him but he’s fired and must leave immediately. He got a bit of a fright and left the shop immediately. The next day he came back and told me that he wants severance pay or else he’s going to the CCMA. Does he have a leg to stand on? I mean, it was blatant theft!
Most employers have encountered the curious phenomenon of the mysteriously absent employee. They’re not at their station at 8 am. By midday, you’ve left multiple calls on their voicemail. And to get through the day you’re forced to shuffle your staff around to pick up the slack. But when this happens the next day, and the next day, and the next, what then? What can you do, if anything, when an AWOL employee magically reappears?
With Spring having sprung, parents everywhere can finally look forward to spending their warm, sunny Saturdays cheering their children on in their chosen sporting events. Seated on the side of the school field, bums in camping chairs, feet on the cooler box, the worst that can happen is hitting a six through a classroom window, or forgetting about the sunscreen until halfway through the third over. Or is it?
Three years ago I did some building work as a subcontractor for a sizable building company. The work I did was a small component of a larger business complex. Every time I asked the building company for payment they said that they’ll pay me when their client pays them. This was one of those projects where anything that could go wrong did, so the project went way over time and budget. When it was finally finished, last year, I sent them a letter asking for payment. They sent a letter back apologising for the delay, explaining that the payment delay was because of unexpected costs in their project, but that they’re committed to paying it, and would I accept monthly payments. Of course, I said yes – I was just happy to finally see some progress with the payment. But after that, I got nothing but excuses. Last week I sent them a strong letter saying that if they didn’t pay then the next communication would be from my lawyers. They sent me an email saying go for it – I’ve got nothing on them – my claim has expired because it’s more than three years old. Is this true?
Death and taxes are often said to be the only certainties in life. If you’re a provisional taxpayer then at this time of the year you may be questioning which option is preferable. With your tax return deadline looming you may well be facing a pint-sized bank balance and a mountain of bills, wondering what inflated amount the taxman will be wanting to squeeze you for this time.
Yes. Yes, we are talking Christmas in August. And for good reason.
Every year we emerge from our winter hibernation to find ourselves on a downhill slope towards Christmas. And pretty soon it’s December and we’re all spending way too much money. Of course, someone has to pay for that holiday at the beach and all the latest tech gadgets for little Joey. Unsurprisingly, this is when many companies find their employees lining up to receive their Christmas bonus. Only to be bitterly disappointed when they discover that they’re not getting the extra payment that they had so eagerly anticipated (and spent already). With the economic constraints of late, many companies are simply finding the payment of a Christmas bonus to be unaffordable. Things can turn sour rather quickly, with staff vehemently asserting that they have a legal right to their annual bonus and threatening the employer with retaliatory action. All this unpleasantness can be avoided if the employer sets the expectations in advance, well before down-payments are made and holidays booked.
There has been so much publicity about mental health recently, and this got me thinking: can you please draft a clause that I can use in my employment contracts? I want to be able to send my staff to get a mental health check done if I feel it necessary. If they refuse then I want to be able to discipline them for refusing to follow instructions. And if the medical assessment warrants it I need to be able to dismiss employees on the basis of their medical illness.
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
(Nelson Mandela: Rivonia Treason Trial, 20 April 1964)
Most of us are too busy with Life to worry about Death. But Death has this annoying habit of showing Life the finger and pitching up at the most inopportune time. While cheating Death may prove difficult, we can ease the process by making sure that we have drafted a will. Yet a worrying number of people do not have wills. Here are some of the more common excuses that people use for not having one.