South African labour law recognises that it is sometimes necessary for a company to implement a zero tolerance policy. This is especially so where the policy is in place to counter what would otherwise be a serious risk to the Company. But that doesn’t mean that the company can act with impunity.
So, can a Company dismiss an employee for a minor transgression on the basis of its Zero Tolerance policy? To answer this question, consider the 2015 case of Shoprite Checkers v Tokiso Dispute Settlement. Shoprite Checkers implemented a policy that on entering the store, all employees were required to declare any personal possessions that they were bringing onto the property. Employees were then searched upon leaving the premises. Employees who were found with items that had not been declared were required to produce the sales receipt for the items. If an employee failed to do so it was presumed that the they had stolen the item from the store, and would be subject to dismissal.