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Truworths was fair in firing cashier who blamed her pregnancy for the shortfall in her till

Durban – Truworths was fair in firing a cashier who had a shortfall of money in her till on at least 19 occasions between 2014 and 2018.

Maphasha Mochekgechekge was initially given a warning and then, after a disciplinary hearing, fired from the fashion retailer in October 2018.

However, she took her case to the CCMA and won.

But Truworths challenged the decision in the Johannesburg Labour Court, and asked the court to set aside CCMA commissioner Dira Edmund Matlatle’s decision.

Labour Court Judge Smanga Sethene, delivering his verdict in SeSotho, ruled in Truworths’s favour.

The woman had told the court that she had wanted a SeSotho interpreter when the case was heard.

Judge Sethene said it dawned on the court that when the judgment, written in the language of King Charles III, was handed down, Mochekgechekge might not have understood why she lost.

“In the circumstances, I considered it apt to write this judgment in the language of King Letsi III, which is SeSotho, for the benefit of Mochekgechekge and many others who have never seen or read a judgment written in SeSotho since the dawn of democracy.”

In court, Truworths said it had trained Mochekgechekge to understand how much money she needed to receive from customers.

They said that despite the efforts, Truworths received a shortfall from Mochekgechekge at least 19 times between 2014 and 2018.

Mochekgechekge told her managers/directors at Truworths that the reason for the shortfall was that she was pregnant or on maternity leave.

The company said that under Section 11 of the Truworths cash discrepancy policy, it was compelled to issue a warning against her.

The company said it had told her that it was unacceptable and, on two occasions, the management/directors had spoken to Mochekgechekge about the issue.

After two warning letters, she was called in for disciplinary hearing, on October 3, 2018, where evidence from both parties were heard.

The chairperson of the disciplinary committee, Brenda Fynn, found Mochekgechekge guilty and ruled that Truworths should fire her.

Truworths said that under its policy, a cashier’s shortage of money resulted in the dismissal of the cashier.

However, when Mochekgechekge went to CCMA, it ruled in her favour, saying that Truworths was not supposed to dismiss her because the reason for the missing money/shortfall in the cash sales was due to her pregnancy.

The commissioner said Truworths was meant to realise that Mochekgechekge’s pregnancy played a role in the shortage of money/cash sales.

However, Judge Sethene said that when a woman was pregnant, she encountered various challenges.

“But a woman’s pregnancy shouldn’t be the reason why money should go missing/or there is a shortage of it. Truworths showed humanity and patience from 2014 to 2018.”

He ruled that Mochekgechekge’s dismissal was lawful.

“It (Truworths) tried its best not to dismiss Ms Mochekgechekge but failed. Truworths was well within its right to act against Ms Mochekgechekge.”

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*The court document was transcribed courtesy of Noni Mokati*