Many employers confuse poor performance with misconduct and vice versa. This can only mean that these employers are not dealing with poor performance and misconduct correctly and they are exposing themselves to labour disputes.

Poor performance occurs when an employee fails to do his job to the standard set out in the contract of employment and job description.

The focus is on the quality or quantity of the employee’s work as compared to what the employer expects of him in respect of behaviour. The focus may also be on how fast the employee works or on whether the employee is keeping to set deadlines.  

Misconduct, on the other hand, occurs when an employee’s behaviour is unacceptable or in breach of workplace rules.

If an employer has reasonable workplace rules about timekeeping, attendance, honesty, safety or other conduct, the employee must adhere to them. If the employee fails to do so, he is guilty of misconduct.

Because poor performance and misconduct differ, the procedures for dealing with them are also different.