Is it required of a company to have a written disciplinary code and procedure? The short answer to this is no. The probability of an Employee using “ignorance” of the rule/work standard as an excuse for breaching the rule however increases should you not have such a code.

When considering whether the dismissal of an employee is fair, the following questions as set out in schedule 8 of the Code of Good Practice on dismissals may be paraphrased as follows:

Is there a rule or work standard;
If such a rule or work standard was contravened, whether or not:
The rule or work standard was valid or reasonable;
The Employee was aware or could reasonably be expected to have been aware of the rule/work standard;
The rule/work standard was consistently applied; and
Dismissal was the appropriate sanction for the contravention.

Although there are various elements that are to be met prior to dismissal, the existence of a rule or work standard and the Employee’s knowledge of that work standard is paramount in proving that the dismissal was fair and for a fair reason;

To avoid an Employee claiming ignorance of a rule or work standard it is thus imperative that a properly drafting disciplinary code is available to the Employees.

In order to assist your company in ensuring effective discipline, it is imperative that the basics in relation of discipline is done correctly.

For assistance in getting the basics right, contact Tracey Mouton at Goldberg and De Villiers on 041 501 9818 or per email at

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