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Dismissal: Are lawyers allowed at a disciplinary enquiry?


When you conduct a disciplinary enquiry at your company – which could possibly lead to dismissal – follow the proper procedure prescribed by the Code of Good Practice in schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) as this will ensure the procedure is fair. For a disciplinary enquiry to be fair, the employee must be allowed to be represented by a trade union representative or fellow employee. Does this mean that they would also be entitled to be represented by a lawyer?


What labour legislation to throw at late-coming employees

Late employee

Both sound management principles and labour legislation require you to use firm, swift, fair and progressive disciplinary measures to deal with late-coming employees, as well as other misconduct, before you dismiss the offenders. This means that if you're faced with late-coming employees you must give them warnings as soon as the problem arises. If, and when, the late-coming is repeated, you need to dole out more serious warnings.


How to win a discipline matter at arbitration


Thousands of cases are lost at arbitration simply because the loser didn't bring his proof to the arbitration hearing. When I was an arbitrator, I frequently heard the employer or the employee say, while testifying, "If you want the proof I can tell you where to get it" or "Mr Smith will back me up if you want to call him" or "I didn't realise that you wouldn't believe me". The problem is that parties in an arbitration matter don't fully understand the rules of the game.


Can an employee refuse to perform duties outside his job description?

General job descriptions

On a fairly regular basis, inquiries are received from the employers about if an employee is forced to carry out tasks or duties which are not included in his job description. Employers find that when issuing instruction to an employee, it is met with the retort “it is not in my job description”.


External experts can chair disciplinary hearings

There is a serious misconception that employers aren’t allowed to get external experts to chair disciplinary hearings. It’s true that such experts might, under certain circumstances, not be allowed to represent the employer (or the employee). However, the person chairing the disciplinary hearing isn’t representing either of the parties. In other words, the chairperson isn’t the employee’s or employer’s representative. Instead, the chairperson is there to gather the facts both parties provide and to make a fair decision.