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?

What rights does an employer have to discipline an employee for misconduct outside the workplace? What will be taken into account when an employee commits an offence - or a related crime - outside the workplace? This week Ivan Israelstam explains what factors will be taken into account by the CCMA. 

This week Ivan Israelstam persuades employers to protect themselves by joining an employer organisation - so that they have protection at the CCMA. Ivan expresses the opinion that labour law provides very little protection for employers and that the protection of employees has been increasing over time. He provides examples from the cases.

 

Ivan Israelstam

Employers sometimes think that employing a person on a fixed-term contract will save the company any obligations in terms of labour law. Under employment equity legislation and codes, there are already implications for employing people on long term contracts in what are permanent positions. This week Ivan Israelstam explains the implications of a Labour Court decision, which finds the employer did not have a right to terminate a fixed-term contract before the end of the term.  

Ivan Israelstam

Many employers will be able to provide examples of how employees ignore or don't comply with requests or instructions. When does failure to comply with instructions constitute sufficient grounds for dismissal?  This week Ivan Israelstam quotes from actual CCMA cases, where employees have been re-instated. Ivan highlights the challenge employers face - achieving a fair dismissal acceptable to the CCMA.  

Labour brokers - or temporary employment services (TES) - provide staff to companies, but sometimes fail to realise that they are also bound by the rquirements of labour law as employer. In addition to the legislation there may also be additional bargaining council determinations, which set conditions such as minimum wage rates. This week Ivan Israelstam explains how the CCMA has decided dismissal arbitrations involving labour brokers.

In dismissal or other disputes, when employers believe that the employee is not telling the truth or misrepresenting the facts related to the case, it is very important that employers take it very seriously and carefully prepare their own case, so that the Commissioner is able to reach the correct conclusion. Ivan Israelstam explains further.

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