Disciplinary Hearings Must Be Above Board



There are several unfair methods that might be used at disciplinary hearings, appeal hearings and arbitration hearings. These unsavoury tactics include the falsification of documents, the influencing of witnesses, illegal entrapment, coercing employees to make admissions or confessions and tampering with audio and video tapes. 



It can also happen that the employer instructs the chairperson of a disciplinary hearing to dismiss the accused employee regardless of the evidence brought. It is even possible for a party to attempt to bribe or otherwise influence an arbitrator or presiding officer to make a decision contrary to the evidence.

Let us look in more detail at some of these other unfair tactics:

Falsification or Fabrication of Documents: This could take the form of an employee getting a medical certificate forged by the doctor’s assistant or from a business specialising in selling certificates. Another ploy that might be used is where an employer fabricating a letter from a client complaining that the employee was rude to the client.

Parties must be wary of these and other means of bringing false documentary evidence. At a hearing, a party is entitled to question the validity of a document. If a competent witness is not present to validate the document and to be examined as to its genuineness the opposing party has a right to oppose the admissibility of the document. However, the presiding officer has the discretion to allow such documents in certain exceptional cases. 

Influencing of Witnesses: For example, either party could offer a witness money in exchange for lying at the hearing. Such tactics are unacceptable.

Coercing Admissions and Confessions: The employer could threaten to hold back the employee’s pay unless he confesses to the misconduct. 

Tampering with Taped Evidence: Either party could make deletions or additions to audio or video tapes relevant to the case. As technical experts can pick up such tampering parties are strongly advised not to try such tricks.

Bribery of a Presiding Officer or Arbitrator: Such practices are highly illegal and, where detected, will nullify the presiding officer’s decision. 


A key factor prompting employers to take disciplinary shortcuts is the time, money and energy that is needed to discipline employees and to correct their performance problems in line with the highly restrictive legal requirements of SA labour law. This highlights a crucial dilemma plaguing all workplaces. That is, trying to balance the tightrope of labour law compliance on the one hand and workplace productivity on the other hand is a very challenging task.

Workplace managers therefore need training in walking this labour law tightrope.

The innovative video series WALKING THE LABOUR LAW TIGHTROPE provides very inexpensive training that allows the managers of every employer to obtain this essential know-how, and to do so at times suitable to their very busy schedules. Its 48 chapters, averaging 10 minutes in length each, can easily be watched at junctures when the manager has time. 

The employer has the option of using this groundbreaking video series to train its managers and HR practitioners in groups and then follow up by getting them to view the video chapters again at convenient junctures to ensure that they retain the learning gained. Alternatively, employers with self-learning systems can simply give their managers and HR practitioners access to the entire series for viewing at times that suit their busy work schedules.

This greatly informative yet very engaging and practical video series provides crucial and user-friendly learning through the use of a stimulating, animated case study that runs throughout the 48-chapter series. Each chapter contains clear and important advice needed by workplace management on the basics of labour law over a very wide range of topics. 

A further advantage is that the manager can, for a full year, easily go back to any of the 48 videos for purposes of refresher training or to access information on how to deal with a current workplace issue. This solves the problem of managers forgetting what they have learned and sustainably builds the managers’ capacity to manage the workplace effectively and in line with the law.

That is, this video series helps management to walk the shaky labour law tightrope and to run the workplace productively without falling into the labour law abyss. 




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