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Eight items a 'notice to attend a disciplinary hearing' must contain or your discipline and dismissal process won't be procedurally fair

by , 24 February 2015
The procedure you follow to discipline your employee must be procedurally fair. If it's not, you could land up with a costly CCMA case on your hands.

It's important you get every little detail right. This includes the notice you send your employee to attend the disciplinary hearing. There are eight items you must include in it.

Read on to find out what they are so you can make sure your discipline and dismissal process is procedurally fair and avoid a CCMA case.


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To make sure your discipline and dismissal process is fair, include these eight items in your 'notice to attend a disciplinary hearing'

 
After you conduct a thorough investigation into your employee's misconduct and are clear on whether to suspend him or not, give him a charge sheet or a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing in writing.
 
The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says the notice you give him should have:
 
#1: The date, time and place of the disciplinary hearing.
This will give your employee enough time to prepare his defence).
 
#2: The charges against your employee.
 
Remember to put down the charges in a way and language your employee understands. Again, this will help him prepare for the enquiry.
 
#3: Your rights to act against any other misconduct that may come to light at a later stage.
 
#4: Details of who the chairperson will be.
 
#5: Your employee's rights.
 
Tell your employee he can have representation at the disciplinary hearing. For example, he can choose a trade union member or fellow employee to represent him.
 
Also tell him that during the disciplinary hearing, he'll have the chance to defend himself. Explain that he can:
 
  • Cross-examine any witness who gives evidence against him;
  • Examine any documentary evidence you have; and
  • Call witnesses.
 
#6:  A notice that he must let you know:
 
  • Which witnesses he'll call;
  • Who his representative will be; and
  • If he needs an interpreter. This way you can arrange for them to be there.
 
#7: A notice that if he doesn't come to the disciplinary hearing, without a valid reason, it will go ahead anyway. And you'll make a finding in his absence.
 
#8: An explanation that if the notice of enquiry doesn't give him enough time to prepare, he must let you know immediately. And, if his request is reasonable, you'll postpone it.
 

Now that you know what to include in your employee's 'notice to attend a disciplinary hearing', keep these two key points in mind
 

  1. You must notify your employee of the hearing well in advance so he has enough time to prepare. (Notice shorter than 48 hours isn't enough).
 
  1. You can't add to charges during the course of a disciplinary enquiry, unless you give your employee a chance to prepare and respond to the extra charges.
 
Including these eight items in your employee's 'notice to attend a disciplinary hearing' will help you make sure your discipline and dismissal process is fair. The end result: You'll avoid a costly CCMA case.
 
PS: To find out how to chair a legally compliant disciplinary enquiry in just five easy steps, check out The Chairman's Guide to Disciplinary Hearings: How to Chair 100% Legally Compliant Hearings.


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