Shoprite Checkers had a policy that all employees had to declare any personal belongings upon entering the store. Failure to do so would lead to dismissal unless the employee could provide a receipt for the goods, in which case the sanction would be a warning.
The employee in this case, one Ms Mzolo, was aware of this zero tolerance policy, but failed to declare a roll-on deodorant when she entered the store, and couldn’t produce proof of purchase when she left, and was searched.
Shoprite dismissed her. She went to the CCMA where the commissioner found the dismissal to be an appropriate sanction and substantively fair. The Employee then applied to the Labour Court to have the award set aside. The Labour Court held that the dismissal was not a fair sanction and set the award aside. Shoprite appealed to the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) which agreed with Labour Court and ruled that:
Employees must thus be flexible when applying zero tolerance policies and consider whether a warning or dismissal is fairer, given the circumstances of each case.
Bregman Moodley Attorneys Inc. 2015/089214/21
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