While it can be extremely difficult to not immediately sign on the dotted line after getting your job offer, the importance of reading your contract thoroughly and understanding the terms of your contract cannot be understated.
The law makes it essential for employers to act with great care and expertise in gathering evidence and in designing and applying their disciplinary policies. The Labour Courts are most intolerant of employers who do not follow their own disciplinary policies and who cannot justify their dismissal decisions based on the facts of the case at hand.
Disciplinary warnings are given with a view to correcting employee behaviour. But, what is the difference if the employer policy says that warnings have an expiry period and must be removed from files, or alternatively, the warning expires but if kept on record. Will this be relevant? Just one of the questions on warnings that Ivan Israelstam addresses this week.
Dismissing employees who have been arrested can be dangerous. That is the view of Ivan Israelstam, who this week explains why he makes that statement. He provides examples from the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Abitration (CCMA), bargaining council, Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, so that employers can see exactly how they should interpret their obligations.
Employers sometimes become emotional about an employee, and will manipulate circumstances to achieve a dismissal. One of the ways of doing this is to put further allegations against an employee, when the matter has previously been decided. Ivan Israemstam quotes a number of cases to illustrate the point of when re-doing hearings is justifiable - and how employers may lose if they manipulate the circumstances.
This week Ivan provides examples from decided cases of what would not be sufficient to justify dismissal, or make the continued employment relationship intolerable. This is compared with how the Labour Appeal Court has approached allegations of racism, or racist language as: “an anathema to sound industrial relations and a severe and degrading attack on the dignity of the employees in question”.
When an arbitrator finds that an employee as been unfairly dismissed, the award will require the employee to be re-instated - unless there are conditions preventing reinstatement. This week Ivan Israelstam indicates the practical and psychological implications for the employer of having a re-instated employee within the workforce.
At a hearing arranged to discipline an employee both parties are entitled bring witnesses. These witnesses may come from inside or outside the workplace. The accused employee has the right to cross-examine the witnesses brought by the employer. Ivan Israelstam explains further.
"Don't miss the arbitration hearing! It may well continue without you." Good advice from Ivan Israelstam this week. But what should you do if you didn't receive the notice of the arbitration hearing? Ivan explains how to proceed with a rescission application.
What should an employer do if they believe that a Commision for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) arbitrator has behaved inappropriately, or failed to take into account all aspects of the case, or otherwise misdirected themselves and come to an incorrect conclusion? Ivan Israelstam uses a number of cases to provide examples of how employers have taken up challenges to the the decisions of CCMA Commissioners in the Labour Court.
Everyone can quote examples of entering a retail store, other service provider, or office, looking for service - only to find an employee filing their nails, or talking on a private call on their the cell phone, or clearly on a social network. Now who is responsible for this behaviour? Yes, the individual himself or herself, but the key question is where is management? Why is this employee allowed to behave like this in company time? This week Ivan Israelstam approaches the issue of management responsibility.
What makes an employment relationship intolerable, and why is this important anyway? Those are the questions that Ivan Israelstam addresses this week. He explains why it is important that an employer understands what this means, and what other factors to take into account before proceeding with a dismissal decision.
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