“…it cannot be right and proper to reinstate or re-employ a person in a position that was secured by the making of false statements” (Extract from a Labour Appeal Court judgment quoted in the case below)
Employees and employers alike should be aware of a recent Labour Court decision which once again underlines the duty of employees to act honestly and with integrity towards their employers.
The 82 year old financial manager who said he was a CA
- A company, despite having a normal retirement age of 65, offered a position as financial manager to a man turning 82.
- He got the job in preference to two other candidates, said the company, not only because of his job knowledge and experience, but also because of the qualifications listed in his CV – particularly a B.Com, an MBA, and a qualification as a CA(SA) i.e. a Chartered Accountant.
- Four years later he was unable to produce proof of these qualifications on request and admitted that he didn’t actually have them.
- He argued however that he had “recognition of prior learning” or “equivalent qualifications”, that being a CA wasn’t actually a requirement of the job, and that the company was just trying to force him to retire by raising “all these stupid little things”.
- His resultant dismissal for misconduct was set aside by the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration), which also awarded the employee compensation of over R300,000.
Gross dishonesty = fair dismissal
On review however the Labour Court held the dismissal to have been fair on the basis that –
- The employee had claimed to be a CA by handing in his CV to this effect as part of his job interview, despite being neither qualified nor registered as such.
- His supposed CA qualification was a material factor in his appointment, and even if being a CA wasn’t a job requirement, “this does not detract from the employee’s dishonesty”.
- The employee had been “grossly dishonest” and “to aggravate this grave misconduct, he also lied about having a B.Com and MBA, and showed no remorse whatsoever.”
- Dismissal was, accordingly, “patently warranted” and the employee’s R300k award was set aside.
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