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!
The main problem is the dismissal without a disciplinary. In order to dismiss an employee for misconduct, the dismissal must be both substantively fair and procedurally fair. Stealing from the till is certainly grounds for dismissal, so your dismissal of him may be considered substantively fair. But before dismissing an employee you need to hold a disciplinary hearing, no matter what your employee may have done. The fact that you didn’t do this raises a question over the procedural fairness of the dismissal. It is possible that you could be ordered to pay your employee something to compensate him. We would advise you to consult a labour specialist who can help you to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and try to keep any compensation amount to a minimum.