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 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 […]

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 […]

Focus on social media can lead to poor performance

The temptation to constantly check your personal emails, WhatsApps, SMSs or the latest posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – and to fire off an immediate response – is extremely powerful. Too much time spent on social media during the working day can, however, cost you your job – and the dismissal will be upheld […]

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 […]

Ignoring a subpoena can land you in jail

CCMA and Bargaining Council commissioners have the powers to issue subpoenas, but unfortunately these subpoenas are usually seen as toothless. More often than not, subpoenas are ignored, and the witnesses fail to attend the proceedings. Commissioners can also cite parties for contempt, but as it is necessary to refer such a ruling to the Labour […]

Dismissal over chocolates

After 24 years of service, Ms Malukela (the employee) was dismissed over three boxes of chocolates. The employee was employed at Pick n Pay as an E-service manager. The position required the employee to operate a till and to train other cashiers on company policies and procedures, including those relating to returns, exchanges, and gifts. […]

Bullying boss made employment intolerable

The Labour Court recently handed down a judgment that reads a little like a novel. The facts in Centre for Autism Research and Education CC v CCMA (JR 1619/2018, handed down on 19 June 2020) per Van Niekerk J, were briefly that Ms Rozanna Riback (“Riback”),  the sole member and director of the institution, which […]

Presiding officials, wakey-wakey!

Chairpersons frequently impose or recommend a sanction of summary dismissal where security guards face allegations that they were caught sleeping on duty as such conduct exposed the premises, which were to be secured by the security provider, to some danger. Regardless of the nature of the workplace, it is generally accepted that no one should […]