Q: Is there anything specific that we need to watch out for when hiring one of my competitor’s star salesman?

I have the opportunity of employing one of my competitor’s star salesman. This guy’s responsible for stealing a lot of my customers away from us, so it’s an opportunity I just can’t pass up to get our customers back and employ a brilliant salesman to boot. The problem is, we already have a full staff complement. So I was thinking of placing our worst performing salesman on suspension and doing a detailed investigation into his performance. We’ve been fairly relaxed about monitoring things like expense claims and working hours, so we’re bound to turn up enough dirt on him to dismiss him. Is there anything specific that we need to watch out for?

Law Quest



Here’s the thing – you can’t just suspend an employee. You need to have good cause before you place an employee on suspension, and you need to give the employee a justifiable reason for the suspension. Suspending an employee so that you can “dig up dirt” on him is unlikely to fly if your employee decides to take you on in the Labour Court.


You mention that he’s your “worst performing” salesman. If his performance justifies it, you can consider instituting poor performance proceedings against him which can ultimately mean that you can lawfully dismiss him if he doesn’t pull up his proverbial socks. In the meantime, if you’re serious about employing this new salesman you may need to look at other ways of accommodating his appointment.


And while you’re about it, you may want to consider tightening up on your employment policies.