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Case law proves: Using threats to coerce an employee to resign is considered constructive dismissal

by , 30 September 2014
Constructive dismissal is when your employee resigns because you made work unbearable for him.

The CCMA has dealt with many cases of constructive dismissal. And the great thing with past cases is you can learn from them so you can avoid making the same costly mistakes in your workplace.

One such case to learn from is the case between Xolani J Ntshingila vs Mr Price (2005) GA41243-04 (CCMA). In this case, the courts found that using threatening or dirty methods to coerce an employee to resign is considered constructive dismissal.

Take a look at the details of the case below so you won't do the same thing in your company.


Don't use threatening or dirty methods to coerce an employee to resign! The CCMA considers this constructive dismissal
 

Case law: Xolani J Ntshingila vs Mr Price (2005) GA41243-04 (CCMA) 

Here are the facts of the case:

According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, in this case, the employee was a Stock Controller. He was earning R1 600 per month.

When he was on leave, he got a call to come into work because they didn't have enough staff. He went in, but was told to go to another store.

The two area managers in that store accused him of stealing from the shop. They gave him an ultimatum to either resign or face arrest.

Arrest meant he wouldn't be able to see his soon-to-be born twins. They gave him a piece of paper to write out his resignation and told him what to write. They also made him sign other documents confirming his resignation. They said they'll still give him a proper reference.

 
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Here's what the CCMA found in this constructive dismissal case
 

The CCMA found that the employer used dirty ways to look into the crime and to force his employee to resign.

The Commissioner said the employee couldn't have drawn up all the documents for his resignation. He must've had some help and the employer prepared all the documents.

As a result, the Commissioner found this to be constructive dismissal. And Mr Price had to reinstate the employee with back pay.

Here's what you can learn from this constructive dismissal case 


You must never use threats to coerce your employee to resign. Tactics like these will backfire and you could land up with a constructive dismissal case on your hands. Make sure you have valid reasons to dismiss an employee.
 
PS: We strongly recommend you checkout "You're Fired" Your guide to substantively and procedurally fair dismissals. Which shows you how to fire that problem employees without worrying about the ccma.

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