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Question
Posted by: Lady M | 2011-01-27

Article clerk at husband''s office

Hi

My husband is a chartered accountant with his own business. One of the article clerks (male, 29) is always picking fights with him - he thinks he is the boss and has no respect for my husband - screams at him sometimes etc. My husband gives him a piece of his mind and is angry with him for doing it but he just keeps doing it. This happens at least once a month. He has a huge ego and is very arrogant. He thinks he is the only one who can do things right. He does his job good and my husband has to stick with him for another 2 years before his articles is done. He takes advantage of the fact that he is needed and has this cruel attitute towards my husband. Me and my husband fight over this persone every single day because I can not stand that the clerk is so rude to my husband. They have fights and sit and talk about it for hours. I have no respect for this person who has no respect for my husband. I can not look at him and do not greet him and will not be polite to him from now on - I cry because I feel heartbroken because he treats the person I love like dirt. My husband want''s me to stay out of it. How can I if I feel hurt and pain if someone treats my husband like that? How can I just ignore it - I can not and I want to ask for help in coping with this.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Surely one of the requirements of being an articuled clerk is to learn how to be polite and non-combative and professional in the relationship with colleagues as well as clients. I'm not sure exactly how the system works, but it's surely not so that your husband MUST put up with however the kid chooses to behave for a full 2 or 3 years nomatter what. Maybe your husband feels that he needs the assistance of this clerk ( is there really nobody else he could hire in his place ? )
As other readers emphasize, the kid should be treated like any other employee, and given formal, written warnings of unacceptable conduct wvery time he performs rudely. Check with the labour law expert. Surely no work contr4act forces an employer to accept rudeness from a junior indefinitely.
Insubordination is unaccaptable conduct in the clerk's porition, and letting him get away with it will be bad for him, his future employers and clients. Suely one of the purposes of articles is not merely to obtain work experience on paper, but to learn how to work properly with colleagues.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-01-29

Surely one of the requirements of being an articuled clerk is to learn how to be polite and non-combative and professional in the relationship with colleagues as well as clients. I'm not sure exactly how the system works, but it's surely not so that your husband MUST put up with however the kid chooses to behave for a full 2 or 3 years nomatter what. Maybe your husband feels that he needs the assistance of this clerk ( is there really nobody else he could hire in his place ? )
As other readers emphasize, the kid should be treated like any other employee, and given formal, written warnings of unacceptable conduct wvery time he performs rudely. Check with the labour law expert. Surely no work contr4act forces an employer to accept rudeness from a junior indefinitely.
Insubordination is unaccaptable conduct in the clerk's porition, and letting him get away with it will be bad for him, his future employers and clients. Suely one of the purposes of articles is not merely to obtain work experience on paper, but to learn how to work properly with colleagues.

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Purple | 2011-01-28

Your husband needs to sit him down, tell him his attitude is not acceptable and that he is going to give him a warning for it and that should the behaviour recur he will hold another meeting with him and give him a final written warning and if it happens again after that he will hold a hearing and will request from the chairperson that he is fired for his behaviour.

Insubordination is viewed so seriously that someone can be fired for the first incident.

Either this guy will change his behaviour or he will find himself fired. There are are plenty of other graduates who would like the chance to be an artricled clerk so that they can qualify.

Your husband should consult a labour consultant to assist him with the process and who will be able to chair the hearing.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Romany | 2011-01-28

Why do you think your husband is discussing this with you and on the other hand tells you to " stay out of it" ?

I agree with Wise Owl... I would have little or no respect for my spouse if he/she was handling this situation like yours.

Reply to Romany
Posted by: Joe labour person | 2011-01-28

Hiya,

Umm, this article clerk sounds like an idiot and needs to be cut down to size. Your husband should know that he has two contracts in place here.

One with SAICA (for his articles contract) and then a labour contract (which governs the employee / employer relationship).

Your husband must grow some balles and issue written warnings for this clerks behaviour under the normal employee employer relationship. Your husband has everything backing him up, the clerk has nothing.

I''m a CA(SA). I know what i''m talking about.

Reply to Joe labour person
Posted by: Outsider | 2011-01-28

Hi Lady, from what I interpret the clerk is in his first year articles, don''t know what sort of contract was drawn up re: his 3 years however I am sure that something could be done, there is a labour lawyer expert on health24, perhaps forward your note to him too maybe he can advise if anyone can be consulted with regulations re: articles contract etc. etc. and constant in-subordination that sort of thing.

Reply to Outsider
Posted by: Wise Owl | 2011-01-27

Your husband is simply too soft. NO ONE is indispensable. Your husband must adopt a logical approach. First time the clerk is rude or insubordinate, call him in and give him a written warning and warn him that he is now " on notice"  and his behavior will be reviewed each week. Each time the clerk transgresses, give him a written warning. The warnings and corrective discussions will soon mount up if the clerk does not behave, and then.... the day will arrive when your husband gives the clerk the boot !! Simple.

Reply to Wise Owl

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