Posted by: Elise | 2011/05/31

Employee neglegence costs company

Dear Labour Expert

My husband and I own a automotive mechanical repair shop. The problem is with one of our employees: he makes mistakes that cost the business money.
This happens often.
Over the past two months he made three expensive mistakes. The first was with paintwork and I deducted the cost of the mistake from his salary. He then complained to the dept of Labour and I had to pay him back. Then, a few weeks later, he tried to fit and incorrect part to a car which resulted that we could not return the " used"  part and had to buy another. I gave him a warning.
Last week het replaced parts on a wheel and because he did not tighten the nuts, the wheel came off during a test drive and caused alot of damage to the car.

What do I do?
Can I dismiss him? Or recover some of the damages he caused?

I understand that I should have a discliplinary hearing, but what is the charge? Negligence? Gross negligence (if there''s a difference)?

And how many more times must this happen before we can dismiss him?

I no longer trust him to do mechanical work - can I demote him and cut his pay?

Please advise?


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Our expert says:
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re: Employee neglegence cost company

If the employee makes mistakes it is up to you to discipline him or to dismiss him. You can only recover damages if you can show that he did this on purpose.

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Our users say:
Posted by: JT | 2011/06/02

The diff between negligence and gross negligence is just a matter of the degree. A mistake that causes a small amount of damage like the incident with the wrong part is negligence. Not tightening the wheel nuts properly causing major damage and also risking the safety of the person driving is gross negligence.

You should follow the diciplinary steps, for something as serious as gross negligence you can go straight to an enquiry. Just make sure you handle the enquiry in a fair and profesional manner, ie a third party mediator with all the right diciplinary steps followed. For a case as this a mediator would prob issue a final warning although a dissmissal is possible if you can prove that the damage was substancial enough.

If the mediator issues a final warning and there is another negligence case a dismissal is very possible. Also demoting this person can also be possible form of punishment.

Good luck with this case.

Reply to JT

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