Charging employees with “time theft” might be problematic

SA Metal Group dismissed a cleaner when she was found guilty of “theft of company time” for having spent time ostensibly cleaning a kitchen that no one was allowed to use after the employer had implemented COVID-19 rules. A CCMA commissioner found on 4 May 2021 that the respondent had failed to prove that the […]

Conduct away from the workplace can lead to dismissal

The Labour Court recently handed down a judgment in the matter of Nhlanhla Christopher Makhoba and the CCMA (September 2021) in which the Court addressed a number of interesting issues. The applicant was dismissed for having posted a racist comment, ‘Whites mz b all killed’, on his Facebook page. Following his disciplinary hearing he was […]

A disciplinary code is not cast in stone

There is a general perception that disciplinary codes as well as the Code of Good Practice: Dismissal, contained in Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), are cast in stone and cannot be deviated from. This is not so. Both constitute guidelines only and employers can deviate from it and from their own disciplinary […]


Social media influences every facet of our daily lives, including the employment relationship. The right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy are popular defenses raised by employees in response to allegations of misconduct for making inappropriate remarks on social media platforms. The right to freedom of expression is derived from section 16 […]

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] […]

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 […]

Investing in VBS Bank: A dereliction of duty

A number of municipal employees have appeared in court following the collapse of the VBS Mutual Bank. In many instances the municipal officials in question deposited municipal funds into the VBS Mutual Bank despite a policy prohibiting municipalities from placing deposits in banks which were not registered in terms of the Banks Act. In 2016 […]

Resigning Won’t Prevent a Disciplinary Hearing

We have accepted for a very long time that the decision to terminate an employment relationship by means of a resignation constituted a unilateral act effected by the employee. This meant that employees could either resign “with immediate effect”, or by giving notice, whereafter they worked out the notice period if so required. When the […]