Dealing decisively with Abscondment, when an employee wishes to resume work
When an employee absconds and deserts their employment but later wishes to return and resume work, the employer should generally follow a fair and reasonable process to address the situation. Herewith some guidelines in this regard.
- Review the employment contract: Examine the employee’s contract to determine if it contains any provisions regarding absconding or desertion and the consequences of such actions. The contract may outline specific procedures to be followed.
- Contact the employee: Once the employee returns and expresses a desire to resume work, contact them to discuss the situation. Arrange a meeting to clarify the reasons for their absence and gather any necessary information.
- Conduct an investigation: During the meeting, conduct an investigation to determine the facts surrounding the employee’s absence. This may involve asking the employee questions, reviewing any supporting documentation they provide, and speaking to other relevant parties.
- Hold a disciplinary hearing: If the investigation reveals that the employee’s absence constituted misconduct or a breach of the employment contract, hold a disciplinary hearing. Provide the employee with a notice of disciplinary hearing, clearly outlining the allegations against them and the date, time, and location of the hearing.
- Allow the employee to present their case: At the disciplinary hearing, provide the employee with an opportunity to present their side of the story, provide any evidence or witnesses in their defence, and respond to the allegations against them.
- Make a decision: After considering the evidence presented at the disciplinary hearing, make a fair and impartial decision. If the employee is found guilty of misconduct, consider an appropriate disciplinary sanction based on the severity of the offence and any relevant mitigation factors.
- Communicate the decision: Inform the employee of the disciplinary decision in writing, clearly explaining the outcome, any disciplinary action imposed, and the reasons for the decision.