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Make sure you describe allegations for a disciplinary hearing correctly so you don't lose a CCMA case on a technicality

by , 26 January 2015
If your employee breaks your rules and you hold a disciplinary hearing to deal with his misconduct, you must decide what the allegations against him are. Then you need to put these in the notice of the disciplinary hearing that you give him.

It's crucial you describe the allegations correctly. If you don't and you dismiss your employee, he could take you to the CCMA for unfair dismissal.

The result?

You could lose at the CCMA on a technicality, have to take him back or fork out up to 24 months' salary.

Read on to find out how to describe allegations correctly!

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Don't let the way you describe allegations be the reason you lose at the CCMA! Here's how to get it right… 

For starters, get all the facts. Then follow these rules when you describe the allegations:
1. Keep it simple and factual. Explain what your employee did wrong as if you're telling someone a story.
'Stick to a clear and concise factual description of what you say your employee did wrong,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
2. Provide enough detail. Describe who did what, when, where and why. Make sure everything is clear so your employee can't later say he didn't have enough detail to prepare his defence.
3. Use plain language that your employee can understand. Many employers fall into the trap of using legal language. Don't do this. The legal definition might not really tell your employee what you say he did wrong.
It's not necessary to give a legal definition, describing what your employee did is what's more important.
For example, if the legal term for your employee's misconduct is 'attempting to steal', don't simply say 'you were attempting to steal property from the company'.
Rather, explain that 'on 20 January 2015, you stole the security managers' access card and forged his signature on a document. You then took property from the company by pretending you paid for it. But this wasn't the case. You were trying to remove it without paying for it, which amounts to attempted theft from the company.'
After describing the allegations, give your employee the notice of the disciplinary hearing in writing.

Remember, describing allegations for a disciplinary hearing correctly is crucial

If you don't do this right, dismiss your employee and he takes you to the CCMA, the other things you did right won't matter. You'll lose anyway.
But if you describe the allegations correctly, your decision to dismiss will probably be fair. That's why it's so important for you to describe allegations properly. So now that you have the know-how, make sure you always get it right.

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