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Four principles of a legally compliant disciplinary hearing

by , 02 July 2013
While discipline is vital to keep control of your company, you also need to ensure you implement it in a way that shows compliance with the law. Be warned, one wrong move could land you at the CCMA. Use these four principles to carry out a legally compliant disciplinary in your workplace.

Disciplining employees isn't child's play.

The National Prosecuting Authority could tell you about it as they're still slugging it out with prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach at the Labour Court.

The lengthy disciplinary case has been dragging on since last year when Breytenbach was suspended and charged with 15 counts of misconduct. She has since been cleared of all those charges.

In the latest development, Breytenbach is now making an urgent application to be given back her old job as regional head of the NPA's specialised commercial crime unit in Pretoria, reports News24.The hearing continues at the Johannesburg Labour Court.

In the meantime, you need to do all you can to ensure you avoid a lengthy drawn out dispute should you find yourself having to discipline your employee.

These four principles of a legal disciplinary hearing can help…

Ensure your disciplinary hearing is legally compliant by following these four principles

#1: Investigate and prepare your case thoroughly before the hearing
To ascertain if a disciplinary hearing is necessary, first investigate the charges. This will help you find out if there's any validity in the allegations and if you have enough evidence to prove the charges.

#2: Choose an unbiased Chairperson
Should the allegations amount to a disciplinary hearing being issued, you must choose a Chairperson.

'It's vital that the chosen Chairperson is unbiased and has the expertise and experience to chair the disciplinary hearing effectively and within the bounds of the law,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

#3: Ensure the accused is given a chance to prepare and defend his case
It's vital that the accused is afforded a chance to attend his disciplinary hearing from start to finish. By affording him this right, he'll be able to defend his case when he's granted an opportunity to testify and lead his evidence.

#4: Base the outcome of the case on the facts
It's important that the outcome of the disciplinary hearing is based on facts. The verdict must be established from facts presented during the case and on the balance of probabilities.

Remember, if your disciplinary hearing procedure is unlawful, you can be taken to the CCMA by the accused.

Following these four important principles will help you discipline your employees legally and will help you avoid being taken to the CCMA like the case between Breytenbach and the NPA.

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