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If you ever find yourself in an unfair dismissal dispute like Independent Newspapers, use this checklist to prepare for a case at the Labour Court

by , 14 July 2014
Last week, we reported that Former Cape Times Editor, Alide Dasnois, is taking Independent Newspapers to the Labour Court for unfair dismissal.

Dasnois believes Independent Newspapers unfairly dismissed her last year because she ran a front page story that painted Sekunjalo Investments (the controlling shareholder in Independent Newspapers) in a negative light.

Following that article, we've received a lot of questions from employers who want to know how to go about preparing for a dismissal case at the Labour Court.

If you want to know too, we recommend you use this checklist to prepare for a case at the Labour Court and increase your odds of success.

Preparation is key when it comes to a Labour Court case

If your employee decides to take legal action against your company for unfair dismissal, you could end up in the Labour Court if the CCMA fails to conciliate the matter.

Now going to the Labour Court without preparation is a no-no. You must cover all your bases. And this checklist will help you do just that…

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Use this checklist to prepare for a dismissal case at the Labour Court

#1: Start your preparation weeks in advance of the court date so you'll be ready in time, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

#2: Work with your lawyer to:

  • Gather all your documentary evidence and place it in a logical order.
  • Prepare all your witnesses. You must ask them the questions you'll ask at the court hearing and listen carefully to their answers. If the answers don't suit your case, don't use that witness.
  • Alert witnesses to awkward questions the employee's lawyer could ask. This will ensure your witness knows what to expert at the hearing and isn't hit with questions that'll make him lose his credibility.

#3: Prepare to cross-examine the employee bringing the case against you. You need to do this so you can deny his allegations and show weaknesses in his arguments.

#4: Prepare a final argument and include decisions in other cases to strengthen your argument.

#5: Make arrangements for your witnesses to get to court on time. This could even mean you fetching them yourself and taking them to court. (Note: If you're not sure that a witness will attend court, consider subpoenaing him.)

There you have it. Using this checklist will help you prepare for an unfair dismissal case at the Labour Court to increase your chances of success.

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