Adenaan Moses was dismissed from his job at the firm when he was found to have taken a second-hand cutter from the tool-shelf and tried to pass it off as his own. Picture: Andrew Kelly/Illustration/Reuters
Adenaan Moses was dismissed from his job at the firm when he was found to have taken a second-hand cutter from the tool-shelf and tried to pass it off as his own. Picture: Andrew Kelly/Illustration/Reuters

Labour Court finds in favour of Cape firm that fired worker for gross dishonesty

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Aug 23, 2021

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Cape Town - The Labour Court has found in favour of a Bellville security firm that dismissed an employee for gross dishonesty when he lied to his boss about a second-hand tool cutter.

Adenaan Moses was dismissed from his job at the firm when he was found to have taken a second-hand cutter from the tool-shelf and tried to pass it off as his own to his manager, identified in court papers only as H Spence, to get a new cutter.

The incident was caught on CCTV.

When Moses took the matter to the CCMA the arbitrator confirmed he was guilty of dishonesty and also found there was no procedural unfairness in the conduct of the inquiry.

In the CCMA award the arbitrator wrote: “His body language showed he took the opportunity when Spence was busy talking.

“During cross examination the applicant hesitantly answered questions. Spence was consistent and certain Moses was dishonest. On a balance of probabilities, I find Moses was guilty of misconduct and dishonesty.”

Nonetheless, the arbitrator found the dismissal was substantively unfair, because the employer had acted inconsistently in not dismissing other employees who had been found guilty of similar conduct.

It had emerged in the case that Infrasek managing director, Isak Venter, spoke to all the employees and gave them a chance to own up to their dishonesty. All the employees implicated, except Moses, admitted they had taken items without permission from the store.

They were issued with final written warnings.

Reviewing the matter Judge Robert Lagrange said: “While it is true there was no guarantee that progressive discipline would be successful merely because dishonesty had been admitted, it does not follow it put Moses’s conduct on a par with theirs.

“He never apologised or admitted any wrongdoing, so this could never have been a mitigating factor in his favour.”

Lagrange reviewed and set aside the arbitrator’s finding that Infrasek had acted inconsistently in dismissing Moses, and his consequent finding that Moses' dismissal was substantively unfair.

He found Moses’s dismissal was substantively fair and made no order as to costs.

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