The Silly Season and consistency

BY Wayne Bolton

The Silly Season has come and gone. It's January and managers have drifted back to work. Before they know it, its mid-month.


It amazes me every year that January heralds an aftermath of employee misconduct - ill-discipline committed during the busy December month. Sadly, January reveals its fair share of dishonesty related offences, in addition to the typical Under the Influence type offences which accompany the office parties or sense of goodwill taken too far.


I find it quite depressing coming across employees who have felt the pressure of not being able to buy that present or meet the extraordinary financial burden of Christmas and have succumbed by committing various forms of misappropriation or theft to supplement their income.


Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act lists as a requirement of fairness consistency in the application of discipline. Not only should the "punishment consistently fit the crime", but disciplinary action must be taken where there is an infringement of the disciplinary code.


It is during January that offences fall through the proverbial cracks, the matter conveniently getting lost in the piles of work that need to be caught up. Don't get me wrong - the intention to take disciplinary action is often there - but when one looks again the passage of time has caused the thought to enter the mind "it's too late now".


The matter is dropped, or a slap on the wrist suffices - a poor second prize which comes back to bite the perpetrator later when a wide-awake shop steward draws the disciplinary chairperson's attention to the lesser sanction imposed by the company.


Consistency. It means just that. Be consistent even when not convenient. 


Author: Wayne Bolton







 January 12, 2018
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