Dismissals must be fair

2016-10-05 06:00


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I WAS recently fired as a manager of a retail company.

The company held me responsible for stock theft that happened under my watch, claiming that I was negligent in my duties.

I was asked to leave without any warnings or a disciplinary hearing.

Surely I should at least have had a chance to give my side of the story?


You are correct.

In terms of our labour legislation, an employer cannot dismiss you without a fair disciplinary hearing.

Firstly, the employer should conduct an investigation into the allegations against the employee.

Once it has been established that there is a case for the employee to answer to, the employee must be informed of the allegations against him or her.

The employee must be also be invi-ted to present his or her side of the story in response to the allegations.

At the disciplinary hearing, an independent chairperson must be appointed by the employer with the role of directing the hearing process to ensure that both parties have an opportunity to present their case, make a finding on whether the employer has proven that the employee is guilty of the alleged misconduct and decide on the disciplinary sanction to be applied.

If this process has not been followed, and provided there are no exceptional circumstances to justify dispensing without a hearing, you have the right to challenge the dismissal for procedu-ral unfairness and that you were deprived of an opportunity to defend yourself.

The bottom line is that our labour law requires every dismissal to be procedurally and substantively fair.

You must therefore have an opportunity to respond to all the allegations against you.

The allegations must also be proven by the employer.

If this was not the case, you may challenge your dismissal at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or the Bargaining Council.

Should you decide to continue to challenge your dismissal, it may also be prudent to obtain the assistance of a labour specialist to assist you with the referral.

  • Precious Serekego, candidate attorney, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys

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