BEEN UNFAIRLY DISMISSED? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS



Been fired from work and not sure of your rights? Here’s what you need to know.


Labour laws exist in countries around the world to protect the rights of employees. South Africa’s Labour Law is straight-forward, with The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) being the legal body to assist in enforcing these laws. Quite simply, employers need to have a fair reason for ending anyone’s employment and certain legal procedures must be followed. The steps for fair dismissal are contained in Schedule 8 of the SA Labour Relations Act: The Code of Good Practice on Dismissals (which can be obtained from the Department of Labour or the CCMA). These are a few examples of unfair and fair dismissals. 

CASES OF UNFAIR DISMISSALS
Salesman Sechaba (46) was a driver at a used-car dealership. ‘A minibus taxi in front of me stopped suddenly so I had to brake hard,’ he says. ‘The driver of the car behind me was on his phone and hit me from behind. The company fired me on the spot without a hearing.’ 


This is a classic case of unfair dismissal. Human Resource expert Nosipho Hlatshwayo’s advice to anyone in Salesman’s position is to file for unfair dismissal at the CCMA. ‘A disciplinary hearing would be required during which he should produce evidence such as witness statements and a police accident report,’ he says. Lesego Meetsi (27), a cook at a daycare centre, was dismissed after taking two months’ maternity leave. ‘Before I took leave I was told they would find a replacement during my maternity leave, but when I returned, they said they no longer needed my services.’ 

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states that employers must give pregnant employees at least four months’ unpaid maternity leave, and for a period of six months after the birth, the employer must offer her suitable alternative employment if she is not able to perform some of her regular duties. So Lesego has a case for unfair dismissal.

CASES OF FAIR DISMISSAL
Thuso Matu(29), a supermarket store manager, was dismissed after it was proven at a disciplinary hearing, using security records and statements from co-workers, that she had opened the store late nine times in the past month. According to the Labour Relations Act, dismissal is fair when the worker had a hearing before the employer’s decision to dismiss. 

Dino Landman(34), a retail store manager, was fired immediately without a hearing after assaulting a colleague. Hlatshwayo says the law states that workers should not be dismissed for a first offence unless it is severe, such as gross insubordination or dishonesty, theft, intentional damage to the employer’s property, putting others’ safety at risk or physical assault of a co-worker. So this dismissal was indeed fair. 

It is still the employer’s responsibility, however, to make employees aware of the code of conduct, and which behaviours could lead to their immediate dismissal without a hearing

DEPARTMENTS OF LABOUR DIRECTORY

LESOTHO
+266 223 22602

NAMIBIA
+26461 206 6111

SWAZILAND
+268 2404 1971/2/3

CCMA SOUTH AFRICA
0861 16 16 16

For more advice and help, Jet Club members can call our helpline.
LEGAL HELPLINE
SA & Namibia
0800 0045 45

Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland
+2711 991 8258


By Lisa Thabethe
BEEN UNFAIRLY DISMISSED? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BEEN UNFAIRLY DISMISSED? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS Reviewed by Zandile Xabendlini on September 04, 2018 Rating: 5

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