Standing order 15 of industrial and commercial employment, ordinance, 1968 provides punishment for certain acts and omissions which have been declared to be actionable and termed as misconduct. Four kinds of punishments have been prescribed according to the degree or severity of the act or omission and made it obligatory on the employer to frame a Charge-sheet before dismissing the workmen.
2. Relevant Provisions
Following are the relevant provisions of industrial and commercial employment (Standing orders) ordinance, 1968 regarding the concerned topic.
Standing order 15(2)(3)(4)
3. Definition of Workman
“Workman means any person employed in any industrial or commercial establishment to do any skilled or unskilled, manual or clerical work for hire or reward.
4. Acts or Omissions amounts to misconduct
The following acts or omissions shall be treated is misconduct.
Allegations which are not covered by any of 12 Kinds of activities which could be treated as misconduct specified in SO 14(3) cannot be treated as misconduct.
i. Willful Disobedience
Willful disobedience or insubordination to an lawful and reasonable order a superior would amount to misconduct word willful means deliberate and intentional act determinable on the facts and circumstances of each case.
ii. Theft, Fraud or Dishonesty
Theft, fraud or dishonesty in connection with the employer’s business or property.
iii. Willful Damage or loss
Intentionally and deliberate damage to or loss of employer’s goods or property.
iv. Immoral Activities
Taking or giving bribes or any illegal gratification.
v. Habitual Absence
Habitual absence without leave or absence without leave for more than 10 days.
Habitual implies a tendency or capacity resulting from the repetition of the same act.
vi. Habitual late Attendance
Habitual late attendance and it is to be proved by aggregate of facts.
vii. Habitual breach of law
Habitual breach of any law applicable to the establishment.
viii. Act subversive of Discipline
Disorderly behavior during the working hours at the establishment or any subversive act of discipline amounts to misconduct. Threat given to superior by worker outside factory premises would be as an act subversive of discipline.
ix. Habitual Negligence
Negligence is the state of mind of undue indifference towards one’s conduct and its consequences. It is the breach of duty to take care. Habitual negligence or neglect of work will amount to misconduct.
x. Acts mentioned in clause
Frequent repletion of the acts and omission referred to in clause (1) e.g making false statements.
Strike means cessation of work or refusal to continue to work. Striking work or inciting others to strike in contravention of the provisions of any law or rule having the force of law.
Go-slow means an organized deliberate and purposeful slowing down of normal output of work by a body of workers in a concerted manner.
5. Punishments for Misconduct
A workman found guilty of misconduct shall be liable to any of the following punishments.
He may be liable to fine in the manner prescribed under the payment of wages Act. 1936 up to three paisa in the rupee of the wages payable to him in a month.
ii. Withholding of increment etc
He may be punished by withholding of increment or promotion for a specified period not exceeding one year.
He may also be punished by a reduction to a lower post.
A workman may also be punished by way of dismissal from service without payment of any compensation in lieu of notice.
6. Essential requirements for the punishment of dismissal
a. Charge Sheet
Charge sheet is the first step of the procedure laid by clause (4) of standing order 15.
i. Purpose of Charge sheet
The purpose of charge-sheet is to communicate to the workman concerned the specific charge or charges together with the allegation on which such charge or charges are based and to call for his explanation in respect of the same.
ii. Form of Charge Sheet
The charge sheet must be in written form.
iii. Language of Charge Sheet
The charge sheet must be in language which can be understood by the workman.
iv. Particulars of Charge Sheet
a. the charge sheet must contain full particulars of the alleged misconduct.
b. the manner in which it is alleged to have been committed, and
c. any other matter or circumstances that is proposed be taken into consideration when passing final order on the case.
b. Opportunity of being heard
Workman shall be given an opportunity to explain the circumstances of the alleged misconduct against him.
c. Holding of inquiry
When eh explanation of the workman in reply to the charge-sheet is not found satisfactory and the employer intends to proceed further against him, it will be mandatory on the employer to institute an independent inquiry into the matter before dealing with the charges against workman.
Employer is not required to supply record of inquiry to employee as there is not provision of law obliging employer to do so.
i. Assistance of any other workman
The workman against whom inquiry is being proceeded may nominate any workman employed in that establishment for his assistance and employer shall allow such workman to be present in the inquiry to assist the workman proceeded against and shall not deduct his wages if the inquiry is held during his duty hours.
d. Suspension of workman by employer
An employer may suspend the workman concerned for the purpose of conducting an inquiry, for a period not exceeding four days at a time so. However the total period of such suspension shall not exceed four weeks.
i. Form of suspension
The order of suspension shall be in writing and take effect immediately on delivery to the workman.
ii. Payment of allowance to the workman
During the period of suspension, the employer shall pay subsistence allowance of not less that 50 per centum of the wages, to the workman concerned.
iii. Where workman found not Guilty
If the workman is found not guilty he shall deemed to have been on duty during the period of suspension and shall be entitled to the same wages as he would have received if he had not been suspended.
f. Approval of employer
It is only the employer who can dismiss the workman and not any officer subordinate to him. The approval of the employer shall be obtained before dismissing the workman for service.
7. Failure of comply with provision of order
The failure to observe the procedure prescribed in standing order 15(4) will render the order of dismissal a nullity in the eye of law.
To conclude, I can say that, the fair progress of industry demands that the workmen should work property and in disciplined manner standing order 15 prescribes punishments for the misconduct on the part of the workman and also safeguards the interests of workman against arbitrary dismissal from the service.