Ivan Israelstam

This week, Ivan Israelstam explains two aspects of the interview and employment process. This article explains what information the law requires a job applicant to provide to the potential employer. Then, what action an employer may take - if they find out that the - now employee - misrepresented any aspect of their qualifications or experience.  Cases are quoted to indicate why it is necessary to follow the correct procedures prior to taking such action. 

 

One of the unfortunate consequences for employees of this outbreak of corona virus, is potential retrenchment. This week Ivan explains the benefits offered by the Department of Employment and Labour to mitigate this eventuality, and reminds employers of the importance of following the consultation steps as set our in the retrenchment clauses of the Labour Relations Act. 

Ivan Israelstam explains how a Corona virus KIT of Knowledge, Intelligence, and Teamwork will limit the potential damage not only to physical health, but also the economic health of  workers, employers, and the economy as a whole. 

Last week, Ivan Israelstam explained the personal reasons employers may have to utilise probation to dismiss employees. This week, Ivan describes the alternative action the employers may take - instead of dismissing the employee, the employee is demoted.  This action, equally as with the dismissals, may run into criticism at the Commission for Conciliation Moderation and Arbitration (CCMA). 

This week Ivan Israelstam explains why "James Bond" employers, who use probation to simply dismiss employees - whether they have broken rules, or just simply because they are not popular with the boss, will be tripped up at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The retrenchment of a senior management employee will always be a difficult exercise, and all the more reason why the employer should ensure compliance with the Labour Relations Act and Codes of Good Practice, and that the correct procedures are followed. Ivan Israelstam quotes a case where the employer tried to both retrench and disciplline a senior employee.

This week Ivan Israelstam explains what it means when the Employment Equity Act requires that employers should not unfairly discriminate. Examples and cases are used to illustrate how important it is for employers to understand exactly what would constitute unfair discrimination. 

Disciplinary hearings are often held in an emotional environmental, which can lead to decisions being taken - without consideration of all the circumstances.  This week Ivan Israelstam explains exactly what are extenuating circumstances, and answers the question - how important are they to the dismissal decision? 

This week, Ivan Israelstam explains how an employer can inadvertently guarantee an employee further employment - even though their contract states that it is a temporary period of employment. He explains the dangers to employers, who attempt to avoid their labour law obligations, by manipulating employment contracts, for example with fixed term contracts.

What is insubordination, and what does it mean "to obey a reasonable instruction"? This week Ivan Israelstam explains what happened in a case where refusal to obey a reasonable instruction - was the correct response, and the dismissal was unfair.

The section of the Employment Equity Act that prohibits unfair discrimination applies to all employers. Discrimination means making a choice. Ivan Israelstam provides examples of fair and unfair discrimination, and explains what "inherent requirements of the job" mean.

As Ivan Israelstam explains this week, employers may sometimes decide to "get rid of" an employer for reasons of age. However, if the decision does not follow an established, documented, fair, and legal policy and practice, the action could prove not only - very expensive for the employer, but also damaging to the company reputation. 

Employers range between those, who are over-sympathetic towards employees, and those who feel they have no responsibility at all, to deal with employee grievances. Ivan Israelstam explains that although there is no statute, that requires exployers to handle employee grievances, it is always advisable for employers to investigate the full circumstances of the grievance, and not to pre-judge based upon the person who is lodging the grievance.   

For employers, any form of workplace disruption causes concern and frustration. Ivan Israelstam explains why it is important that employers do not respond emotionally to such disruptions, and only respond once their actions have been carefully considered.

This article explains the challenges labour brokers experience, when the employer refuses to accept the person, who has been placed at their site.

Ivan Israelstam

Although there is a formal Code of Good Practice for Dismissal it is also possible to have a less formal approach to disciplinary procedures in certain circumstances.

"Whistleblowing" - not the making of noise with a little mouth toy - making a report, which "exposes secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within a private or public organization" (Wikipaedia definition). What are the consequences of an employee making a report about something happening reporting on administrative, or other actions, which are being carried out in the organisation, or institution of their employer? Ivan Israelstam explains how the Protected Disclosures Act, protects whistleblowers, but also how employers are protected.

Employers and trade union officials, who present matters at the CCMA, will be interested in the list of powers, which Ivan Israelstam has listed.  Questions are answered, such as: Is the CCMA Commissioner empowered to overturn a dismissal decision?  

Two important issues are raised his week by Ivan Israelstam - first that employers should not use retrenchment as an excuse to deal with their failure to manage employee performance, and when conducting restructuring and retrenchment exercises, there are clear steps to be followed to consult with employees - these include consultation, information sharing, and consideration of alternatives. For details on the requirements - see Labour Relations Act sections 189 and 189A, and the Code of Good Practice on Operational Requirements Dismissals.

Ivan Israelstam explains in detail employee rights in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), and how the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Labour Court may approach disputes, which combine BCEA disputes, with matters under the Labour Relations Act (LRA), such as unfair dismissal disputes.   

This week, Ivan Israelstam lays out the procedures for an arbitration hearing, and the explains why it is critical to present evidence to support your case. 

What is required to suspend an employee from work?  This week Ivan Israelstam explains how employers can cause themselves very expensive problems by losing their temper and treating employees unfairly.  

"Hearing chairpersons should not count their chickens before they hatch" is good advice. This week Ivan Israelstam, how - and why - some employers try to manipulate the disciplinary process, and the potential consequences if this advice is not heeded. 

This week Ivan Istraelstam explains all of the dispute resolution bodies, and the fees and costs for an employer who is found to have unfairly dismissed an employee.

As with all disciplines, labour law has its own terminology. What does "hiding behind the corporate veil" mean? Ivan Israelstam explains how employers sometimes seek to hide the true nature of a business practice, and how the CCMA, bargaining councils, and labour courts will respond.   

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