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Employment Termination

You must prove dismissed employees knew the rules

Many HR and IR professionals are frustrated because management has still not come to terms with the fact that they cannot just fire their employees without good cause: Section 188(1) (a) of the Labour Relations Act makes it clear that you, as an employer, cannot fire an employee without good cause.

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When can you dismiss an employee for being drunk at work?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. There are a set of rules that you must abide by but that being said, you must look at each situation individually and apply each of these rules according to the specific situation.

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Dismissal of absent employees

Before November 1999, Delta’s rate of absenteeism was, on average, 3% – after the execution of a revised policy (to bring policies in line with the amended labour legislation), the rate increased to reach a high of 11, 5%. The increase was attributed to the new policy, which made provision for sick employees to receive their full wage for the sick period.

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Fantastic on paper but a flop in the boardroom

The challenge

Many organisations pay top dollar for a senior employee, in the belief that he or she will take it to the next level, only to discover that the executive has oversold their wares. Getting rid of the executive can be a costly and protracted exercise. Currently, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("LRA") makes no distinction between senior and junior employees and, as a general rule, to safely dismiss for poor performance, an employer must first follow a formal performance-counselling process. This process can take months to finalise. 

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Can you fire someone for being a square peg in a round hole?

The challenge

South African employment law currently only recognises four reasons for dismissal: misconduct, incapacity for poor performance, incapacity for ill health/injury, and the employer’s operational requirements. Accordingly, when faced with an employee who is good at his/her job but who is a poor fit with the organisation’s corporate culture, employers are sometimes left feeling like they are standing on legal quicksand.

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