Posted by: eva | 2010-07-24


I have a domestic worker that has been with us for the past 3 years, recently we have had a few things missing from the house, we have questioned our domestic and she says she doesnt know. We help her as much as we can as i cant afford to give her an increase this year as i have just left my work to be home with my children. We have organised for her to stay in a room rent free on one of my aunts properties and today when the landlord went to check out the geysers, which the one is in her room, they discovered our missing dvd player.They took a photo of it for evidence, but what leg do i have to stand on? dont i need to catch her red handed to dismiss her? I am considering installing cameras as to see what else she is willing to take from us. How else can i go about this? any suggestions will be welcome as i cant handle the thought of having a thief and a liar working for me.

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Our expert says:
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You may install cameras but it is suggested that you tell her.

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Posted by: Purple | 2010-07-26

No, you don''t need to catch her red handed.

You know that she has taken something of yours and has it on her property. She has taken it without authorisation.

Notify her that you will be holding a disciplinary hearing with her during working hours. Do this at least 2 days before the hearing and do it in writing and explain it to her verbally as well.
You need to tell her that the hearing is about allegedly taking your DVD player with no permission to do so.
You also need to tellher that it is a serious matter and she could potentially lose her job over it.
Ask her if she needs someone to translate for her, though do point out that as she communicates in English during her working time, and there won''t be anything technical or difficult you don''t think she needs someone. If she does want someone, ask a friends domestic worker to translate.
She is also allowed a fellow employee to represnt her if she wants, but unless you have other employees this will be difficult so if she enquires about it, tell her that you suggest you uses a fellow domestic worker.
If she brings some union rep with her, listen to her reasons for wanting them there and then decide whether you will allow it or not.

Then you sit down and you tell her what the problem is, in detail, using the landlord to give evidence that he saw the DVD player there. She can then question him about this too.
Then you give her a chance to give her side of the story. She is also allowed witnesses there if she needs them (you must tell her this in the notification too).

Then look at the two stories and decide which is more likely to be true.
If its yours then you find her guilty if its hers then find her not guilty.
If you find her guilty then you can dismiss her. First you must ask her to give reasons why you shouldn''t dismiss her (length of service, personal circumstances and so on). Taking something that isn''t yours is dishonest and dishonesty is most definitely something you can dismiss an employee for.

This is just some basic information, its probably worth your while to get some advice from a labour lawyer or even ask a lawyer to chair the hearing for you.

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