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Cosatu suspends Zwelinzima Vavi! Do you know when a suspension is justified?

by , 15 August 2013
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been suspended. The move came after a special Cosatu central executive committee meeting held yesterday. The meeting was called to discuss Vavi's future after he admitted to having an affair with a woman he appointed to work in Cosatu House. It's believed Vavi was suspended pending the outcome of an internal probe into his conduct. While you await the outcome of the showdown threatening to split thistrade union, read on to find out how to ensure your suspension is above board. This way you avoid claims of unfair labour practices...

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) gives your employees a right to fairness. This means you must ensure you have a good reason for wanting to suspend your employee (substantive fairness) and you must follow a fair procedure (procedural fairness) so you're not to be guilty of unfair labour practices, says the the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

But when can you justify your employee's suspension?

You can justify suspension if the misconduct your employee allegedly committed is serious. This includes circumstances involving:

  • Alleged fraud, tender or financial irregularities;
  • Sexual harassment; and
  • Assault or intimidation.

But be warned, even when you suspect your employee has committed a serious offence, you still have to ensure the suspension is procedurally fair.

This means you must:

  • Inform your employee that you're considering suspending him;
  • Tell him the reasons why you want to suspend him;
  • Inform him that he can motivate why you shouldn't suspend him;
  • Consider his representations; and
  • Tell him what you've decided.

Remember, when you've decided to suspend your employee, you must inform him in writing on why you're suspending him.

Follow these steps to ensure you follow a fair process when you suspend your employee.

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