dismissal

Good practices during recruitment of new employees are critical to business success. One key issue is to obtain relevant documentary evidence of qualifications and the employer has the responsibility to ensure that the documents, such as qualifications and licences are genuine. Obtaining a history of the potential employee's past work experience may be more difficult and what will be considered relevant to the position may not always be clear.  This week Ivan Israelstam explains the complexities in establishing what is relevant. 

Employers generally are now respecting an employee's right to a disciplinary hearing before deciding upon dismissal.  The question is: who chairs the disciplinary hearing, that is: who is the presiding officer of the disciplinary hearing? How important is it that the presiding officer has not been involved in the events leading up to the disciplinary hearing? This week Ivan Israelstam answers these questions.

Employers do complete employment contracts before the person commences work, but does that make the person an employee? What are the implications is the employer decides to terminate the contract even before the person has commenced work? This week Ivan Israestam deals with these interesting labour law questions. 

Retrenchment consultations are potentially emotional and difficult discussions. This week Ivan Israelstam explains whether employees involved in a retrenchment consultation have a right to bring in a lawyer or other external labour law representative. 

Employers may suspend an employee in a number of circumstances, some are reasonable and fair, but others may simply be as a result of an employer trying to make life difficult for an employee so that the employee will resign.  This week Ivan Israelstam explains all the various circumstances of suspensions.

This week Ivan Israelstam explains potential forms of disruption and indiscipline at the workplace - what he refers to as workplace rebellions. The article goes on to consider when dismissal is a fair response by the employer, quoting cases to show how the CCMA will respond to allegations of unfair dismissal. 

Following last week's article on the definition and legal consequences of entrapment, this week Ivan Israelstam explains other illegal and unethical practices, which may be used at disciplinary hearings. Under pressure to achieve a dismissal, supervisors and managers may be tempted to use these practices.  However, as Ivan explains they are highly likely to backfire on management.   

What exactly is entrapment and is it legal for an employer to entrap an employee? What is the difference between entrapment, and trapping? Employers who are not trained lawyers may well find this all very difficult to understand and end up on the wrong side of a CCMA decision. This week Ivan Israelstam explains what an employer needs to do in order to prove that they have acted legally and fairly in a dismissal.

In common law employers and employees have the obligation to treat each other fairly and within the law. What does that mean? This week Ivan Israelstam explains very clearly what the obligations are for both employers and employees. The CCMA arbitrators and the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court judges will not take kindly to parties to do bring forward an accurate account of events, or are shown to have not met their obligations. 

When an employee is intoxicated by alcohol and is driving or using equipment, this can potentially constitute a danger to themselves or to others. This week Ivan Israelstam quotes some cases, which indicate that the CCMA arbitrators are not necessarily consistent in their decisions So how should employers respond?

At some time or other, most employers are faced with the decision on whether dishonesty by an employee warrants dismissal. This week Ivan Israelstam explains what the Code of Good Practice Dismissal requires employers to take into account. Ivan also explains the importance of mitigating factors that need to be taken into account before an employer makes the decision to dismiss.

  

Why is is important that disciplinary action takes place timeously? This week Ivan Israelstam explains how difficult it is to prove that the trust relationship has been broken sufficient to warrant dismissal - if the disciplinary procedure was delayed and the employee was allowed to continue working.

This week Ivan Israelstam explains the concept of double jeopardy, and why it is important that employers understand what it is, and how to avoid actions that count as double jeopardy.  

Where the job itself is permanent it is dangerous to employ staff on anything but a permanent contract. This is firstly because the Labour Relations Act provides for fixed-term employees to have a reasonable expectation of renewal of their contracts at the expiry date. Secondly, case law has gradually narrowed those circumstances under which an employment agreement can legitimately be accepted as a limited duration contract.

Ivan Israelstam explains the many ways that communication can go astray between the CCMA and the employer - and the very expensive consequences of the mis-communication.  This week Ivan explains why it is essential for business owners and executives to take labour law seriously and ensure that all management and supervisory levels understand how to manage employees within the law. 

This week Ivan Israelstam uses a dismissal case that went from CCMA, to Labour Court, and finally to the Labour Appeal Court, but the dismissed employee was still re-instated - to explain the importance of handling investigations and disciplinary matters competently, and to ensure that any procedures at CCMA or courts are well prepared.  Above all to avoid emotion.  

This week Ivan Israelstam explains why it is necessary to ensure that no names with racial meanings are used at the workplace. Also why it is important that employers investigate any allegations of racism at the workplace. Decisions of the Labour Court and a Bargaining Council provide good guidance.

This week Ivan Israelstam pays attention to the use of labour brokers and temporary employment service agencies (TES). There are many reasons why employers make this decision on how to fill their company needs. But are there risks to using these services, instead of employing people on the company payroll as permanent employees? Read on for further details.  

This week Ivan Israelstam covers disciplinary hearings. What should an employer take into account when an employee does not attend a disciplinary hearing, and what does the law say about employees who deliberately try to delay the disciplinary hearing from proceeding? 

Some employers may assume that illegal immigrants or employees without work permits have no legal rights in South Africa. This view may lead employers to mistreat staff, who are vulnerable because the employer believes that such employees have no recourse to labour law. This week Ivan Israelstam explains that employers should take note that this view is incorrect and why it is ill-advised. 

This week Ivan Israelstam looks at the cases of alleged sexual harassment.  Questions answered are: how should an employer respond to sexual harassment allegations by an employee, and what are the obligations placed upon an employer?   

This week Ivan Israelstam explains that labour law does allow an employer to dismiss an employee.  However, labour law expertise is required to ensure that the dismissal is both procedurally and substantively fair. Employers cannot simply to decide to dismiss an employee on the word of an external party - without following any internal procedures. 

Ivan Israelstam sub-titled this article: Sick employees can drive employers to drink. This week Ivan explains what the obligations are on employers when they have an employee who is ill.  The question is: what does "ill" mean? Employees who have become addicted to substances, or who have become disabled in some manner have certain rights, which the employer is obliged to uphold.  Ivan explains further ...

This week, Ivan Israelstam explains the legally distinct reasons for dismissal: for misconduct, for poor work performance, and for operational requirements.  These are distinctly different reasons, and each has a distinctly different procedure to achieve a legally compliant dismissal. There are always exceptions in the cases, but employers are well-advised to follow the standard methods for each circumstance. 

This week Ivan Israelstam explains why it is important that an employee should be allowed to cross-examination witnesses giving evidence at a disciplinary hearing. Sometimes a chairperson will interrupt or limit the employee's questions.  What is the implication when this happens?

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