Is it legal for my boss to send me on errands?

Friday February 1 2019


By Caroline Mboijana

My boss sends me on personal errands that are not part of my job description and even scolds me when I fail to do them or ask that I first work on official assignments. Recently, she threatened to get back at me during performance review (PMS) if I do not do as she says. She usually uses PMS to get back at those who are opposed to her oppressive methods of operation. Julian

Dear Julian,
It is unfortunate that you have a supervisor who is treating you in such a manner. What she is doing is wrong. The terms and conditions of your employment are clearly defined in you contract/ appointment letter and your job description defines what you must do and will be held accountable for through the organisations performance management framework.

If these issues are raised and documented in your performance review, you should question the reason for inclusion and refuse to sign off your performance review document. This will trigger the matter to be tabled and discussed through the human resource (HR) manager.

If you find that the review process is too far ahead in time, my advice is that you raise this issue with your HR manager. It is important to share specifics, times and dates, of when you have been asked to “run personal errands”.

In addition, share content from discussions that you’ve had and raised concerns. It is highly probable that your HR manager will try to address the issue by talking with your supervisor.

If there is no change in behaviour from your supervisor, then the next course of action is raising a formal complaint through your grievance procedure. Make sure you are familiar with the procedure and what you will be needed to do. Your supervisor’s behaviour is unprofessional, abuse of office, authority and is office bullying.

Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)