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Incompetent EmployeeWhat happens when an employer can see that an employee is failing to attain the standard of performance required of them in his/her job?

The first and most important thing to do is to identify the areas of incompetence. A proper investigation must be conducted, which investigation should establish why the employee is failing to perform satisfactorily.  Secondly, the employer must meet with the employee and conduct a counselling session whereby the areas of incompetence are discussed. Give the employee an appropriate evaluation. Is the employee aware of the standard of performance required by the employer? The employee must be given an opportunity to rectify the situation in a given time period.  If the employee feels they simply need further training in a particular skill(s), then skills development training should be offered.

If the employee does not reach the required level of competence in the job in a reasonable amount of time, then a further counselling session must take place in which further options are discussed. At this time, the employer is required to ascertain whether or not there are any steps, which will assist the employee to improve and/or an alternative position in which the employee might more capably perform the duties.

If there are no other options (no alternative positions) or the employee refuses an alternative position, then the employee’s employment must be terminated. If dismissal is to be considered, we recommend that several instances of counselling take place in which it is made very clear to the employee that their failure to improve will prejudice their future employment.

In all counselling sessions, proper minutes must be kept and neutral witnesses be present. If you have any questions in this regard or require assistance with any labour law matter, you may contact McCarthy & Associates Attorneys on admin@mccarthylaw.co.za or (033) 266 6170.