How to Handle an Employee Who Violates Company Rules with Threat to Property
Employers are sometimes faced with the challenge of imposing disciplinary action on employees who commit an offense that poses serious and imminent threat on the property.
An example of this scenario is commission of theft of employer’s property. The common understanding is that the employer has to ask for an explanation or issue the Notice to Explain (NTE) to get the side of the employee.
Afterwards, the employer may ask the employee to attend the administrative hearing or conference if so requested in writing by the employee or even if not requested, the Code of Conduct requires this process.
After the hearing, the employer may evaluate the pieces of evidence submitted such as the reply of the employee to the NTE, the answers or results of inquiries during the conference, documents, records, CCTV, etc.
While most employers are now aware of this standard procedure, most inexperienced establishments are at a loss when the offense involves a threat to the property. Knowing that the employee cannot be immediately terminated, the employer is stumped on how to prevent further violation or commission of theft, for instance.
The solution is to impose preventive suspension. This is not a penalty or is not punitive. Thus, the employer cannot be accused of prejudging the case. At the same time, this treats of the concern that further theft could happen pending investigation.
The preventive suspension has a maximum period of thirty (30) days. Thereafter, the employee who is not terminated after such period shall be deemed constructively dismissed.
In certain cases, the 30 days can be extended provided the employee is reinstated on payroll during the period of extension. The circumstance justifying extension is when the investigation is not yet completed.
The next time the employer feels that the offense committed poses a serious and imminent threat on the property, imposition of a preventive suspension provides an elbow room to conduct deeper investigation without risking commission of another theft.