One of the main duties of a cashier is when the till is cashed up, it must be exactly right. Too much cash (being over) as well as too little in the till can be a serious offence.

In a Labour Appeal Court (LAC) case – Woolworths (Pty) Ltd v South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union and Others (JA38/15) [2016] ZALAC 41; (2016) 37 ILJ 2831 (LAC); [2017] 2 BLLR 137 (LAC) (27 July 2016) – this matter gets attention from the Court of Appeal. This case gives guidance in similar matters.

Facts of the case

A cashier was dismissed because her till contained too much cash: the till had R628.78 more cash in it, at the end of the day, than it should have had.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that the dismissal was too harsh a sanction and ordered the employer to reinstate the employee with retrospective effect.

On review the Labour Court (LC) found that the Commissioner had been mistaken with its finding that the excess cash could not have been caused by anything other than negligence. The LC, however, ruled that the award was nonetheless reasonable and therefore it stood.

On appeal, in the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) the judge noted that the Commissioner’s finding – that the dismissal was unfair – was influenced by his view that this was the first time the employee was “over” with respect to the cash in her till and that she had not been dishonest. The employer’s policy prescribed that for discrepancies more than R500.00 the appropriate sanction was dismissal.

The employee had not challenged the reasonableness of the rule. The LAC said the LC was correct in finding that the employee was negligent but that the Commissioner had made a great error. Despite evidence showing that the employee had previous warnings for cash shortages in the till, the Commissioner had found she was a first-time offender. The employee had submitted that she had no previous warnings.

The LAC found this to be dishonest and false. Documentation showed that the employee had five previous warnings and was on a final written warning for the last incident. Accordingly, the LAC found that the Commissioner’s award was unreasonable. The dismissal was ruled to be substantively fair.

So, the bottom line is that provided you follow a process of corrective discipline too much money or too little in your till is a problem!

Contact Global Business Solutions

At Global Business Solutions, we specialise in helping our clients with matters such as the one above. Contact Anndine Dippenaar and the legal team following this link.