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How to ensure your disciplinary hearing is legally compliant

by , 08 July 2013
Public Works Department acting director-general Sam Vukela has been has been fired for showing no remorse for his role in the controversial R500 million police lease deal saga. Vukela awarded the deal to property mogul Roux Shabangu. An internal disciplinary hearing found Vukela was found guilty after he coerced his junior officials in the supply chain management department to secure the Sanlam Middestad Building in Pretoria for use by the police during the 2010 World Cup, iol reported. According to the report, Vukela has now filed papers in the bargaining council challenging the fairness of his dismissal. To ensure you avoid any legal comebacks, here are the elements you need know to ensure your disciplinary hearing is legally compliant.

It's crucial that your disciplinary hearings are effective, fair and legally compliant.

This means all disciplinary hearings must be conducted with procedural and substantive fairness. Failure to do this could result in your employee taking you to the CCMA for unfair dismissal.

Use the six elements to ensure your disciplinary hearings are effective and legally compliant

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service advises you use these elements to ensure your disciplinary hearings are legally compliant.

#1: Investigate and prepare your case thoroughly before the hearing

Conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations. This involves gathering evidence that includes eye witnesses. During the process of developing your strategy and formulating the charges, you may need to suspend your employee.

#2: Choose an unbiased and skilled Chairperson

'You're allowed to select an individual from outside your company to be the Chairperson. The good thing about this is that this person is unbiased and has the experience and to chair the hearing within the bounds of the law,' explains FSP Business.

#3: Ensure the accused employee is given every chance to prepare and defend his case

Afford your employee the right to prepare evidence that he'll present in his disciplinary hearing.

#4: Base the outcome on the facts

The Chairperson of the disciplinary hearing must establish the verdict from the facts presented and on the balance of probabilities.

#5: Ensure the penalty is appropriate to the offence

When deciding on the appropriate penalty, your Chairperson must consider these factors:
  • The gravity of the offence.
  • Mitigating circumstances in which the offence occurred.
  • The employee's service records.
  • The way in which your company has handled similar matters.
#6: Record the disciplinary hearing so you can prove you complied with the law

If your employee decides to challenge his dismissal at the CCMA, you'll have proof that you acted in a procedurally fair manner.

Abiding with these elements of a legally compliant disciplinary hearing will ensure your employee's disciplinary hearing is conducted in a procedurally fair manner.

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