Dismissed for one day’s absence while on a final written warning

When an employer loses the end of its patience with the conduct of an employee, it is often just a small straw that breaks the camel’s back and puts an end to the employment contract. That much was obvious in the matter of Malimba v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Others (JR1594/18) [2021] […]

Virtual hearings are here to stay

This is the fourth and last article that looks at reasons to proceed virtually. The first article summarised responses from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the High Court. The second article recorded what the Labour Court had to say when a union refused to participate in remote consultations. The third article looked at […]

Virtual hearings are valid

This is the third of four articles that looks at what happens when parties refuse to participate virtually. The first article summarised responses from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the High Court. The second article recorded what the Labour Court had to say when a union refused to participate in remote consultations. The […]

Virtual consultations are valid

This is the second of four articles that look at what happens when parties refuse to participate virtually. In this, the second article, we take a look at what happens when parties refuse to participate virtually in retrenchment consultations. We look at what the Labour Court had to say when FAWU claimed procedural unfairness when […]

Virtual hearing may proceed without parties opposed to it

This is the first of four articles that looks at what happens when parties refuse to participate virtually. This, the first article, summarises responses from the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) and the High Court. The second article records what the Labour Court had to say when a union refused to participate in remote consultations. […]

The saga of a hairpin: insubordination and a dismissal

What happens when an employee steadfastly refuses to remove a light blue hairpin in contravention of a dress code that requires hairpins to be navy blue or black? She is charged with insubordination, and when found guilty, she is dismissed. At first blush, the decision to dismiss the employee, who was employed as a cashier […]

Workplace safety is paramount during pandemic

Dismissal is an appropriate sanction for employees who fail to self-isolate when they have symptoms of Covid-19, or who continue to come to the workplace after having tested positive for the virus. The Labour Court not only confirmed that dismissal was an appropriate sanction when a Covid-19 health and safety policy was breached, but also […]

Was lockdown a good reason not to go to work?

The CCMA has rendered a number of arbitration awards after employees referred alleged unfair dismissal disputes for having failed to report for duty. In each instance the employee concerned claimed that the national lockdown was the reason for the absence. Just how valid the saying that “each case turns on its own facts” is, becomes […]

The Labour Court seldom intervenes in disciplinary hearings

The Labour Appeal Court made it quite clear in the matter of Booysen v Minister of Safety and Security and Others (2011) that it would only intervene in disciplinary hearings where exceptional circumstances exist which may result in a grave injustice. Despite such clarity, applicants frequently turn to the Labour Court seeking an urgent interdict […]

A reinstatement order does not revive the employment contract

What does an order to retrospectively reinstate an employee mean? Does it mean that it revives the employment contract which was terminated when the employee was dismissed? Does it mean that the employer must unconditionally pay the employee backpay in the amount he would have earned from the date of dismissal to the date of […]