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Breaking these two rules is as good as giving your employee a blank cheque to take you to the CCMA

by , 06 June 2013
As the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) just discovered, firing your employee can be an expensive legal exercise if you don't do it properly. In fact, one wrong move could land you at the CCMA. Read on discover two rules that'll help you avoid making costly mistakes.

If the Glynnis Breytenbach vs. NPA case serves as anything: Let it be a warning to companies about the importance of ensuring disciplinary practices are factually correct and legally sustainable before they fire employees.

According to The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, there are two rules you must follow when firing your employee. If you don't, you could easily find yourself losing your case at the CCMA and paying up to 12 months' compensation.

Follow these two rules when dismissing employees to avoid a CCMA case

Rule#1: Be clear on your reason for dismissal

Never dismiss your employee without being clear about the reason for doing so. Follow the correct procedure based on your reasons.

Here are four procedures you can follow when dismissing your employee:

  1. Hold a hearing if he's committed misconduct
  2. Go through a performance management process if he's not performing properly. You must include counselling. 'You have to give him a fair chance to improve before you consider dismissing him,' advises the Loose Leaf.
  3. Hold an incapacity hearing if he's unable to perform his duties and responsibilities as a result of ill-health or injury. You'll also have to consider a suitable alternative position or measure to accommodate him before dismissing for incapacity.
  4. Go through the full retrenchment process before letting him go because your business is doing badly and you can't afford to keep him on. Or because you want to restructure and won't have a job for him.

Remember, in all these cases you must consult with your employee and follow the correct procedures before simply dismissing him.

Rule#2: Always hold a hearing

Never fire your employee without giving him a hearing and sufficient notice of the hearing. No matter how serious the misconduct, or how poor his work performance has been, you'll be giving him a blank cheque to take you to the CCMA.

There you have it. Make sure you don't break any of these rules or, like the NPA, you could land up with a costly court case, like the Glynnis Breytenbach case on your hands.

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