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The recent Labour Court judgment in Botes v City of Joburg Property Company SOC Ltd and Another [2021] 2 BLLR 181 (LC) put it beyond doubt that issues which fall under section 23 of the Constitution, the right to fair labour practices, are governed by the principles of procedural and substantive fairness. Furthermore, the Court indicated that such issues are primarily dealt with through the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 ("LRA").

This week,  Ivan Israelstam applies decided cases of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to explain what should be considered before an employer takes a decision to dismiss an employee. The examples also highlight some inconsistecies in the decisions of the CCMA, which do make the employer's job more difficult.

South African labour law - often criticised for restricting recruitment because employers believe that they cannot dismiss an employee. Whereas, as Ivan Israelstam points out, investing the time and money into good quality training on labour law for management, will pay off many times over in costs saved from adverse CCMA and Bargaining Council decisions.

This week Ivan Israelstam explains the history of a case, which went all the way through to the Constitutional Court. The case concerned employers' rights over dismissal decisions. Ivan explains the final outcome.

Employees do sometimes lay frivolous and vexatious claims against employers at the CCMA.  However, employees who do so may be ordered to pay the employer's legal costs. Even so, the employer should not give employees easy claims by failing to behave legally and responsively; and should definitely not underestimate the importance of preparing a response - even if the employees claims are spurious.

Ivan Israelstam illustrates with examples, why it is necessary for employers to ensure that incidents requiring disciplinary hearings, are fully investigated; and the evidence is collated and prepared ready for presentation. Failure to complete the investigation, the preparation, and the presentation steps is highly likely to lead to dismissed employees being reinstated by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration. 

What is double jeopardy, how does it arise, and what are the consequences for employers? This week Ivan Israelstam uses cases to explain what double jeopardy is, and how employers get themselves into some very expensive consequences, when dismissing employees in these circumstances.

This week Ivan Israelstam explains why employers get into - expensive - difficulties at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, or bargaining councils by incorrectly using fixed-term contracts. Why does this happen, and what should employers take into account to ensure that they can defend their actions if a dispute is lodged against them?

 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.

What is the value that employees potentially add to a business, or organisation? What should employers do in order to maximise that value? What are the potential financial implications if employers do not follow the guidelines that Ivan Israelstam lays out? Ivan explains further. 

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