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Preparing for arbitration? Ask these eight questions when examining the merits of your case

by , 02 December 2013
When conciliation fails, a party may request the CCMA to resolve the dispute by arbitration. At an arbitration hearing, a commissioner gives both parties (you and your employee) an opportunity to fully state your cases. One of the vital steps in preparation for arbitration is to examine the merits of your case. Here are the eight important questions you should ask yourself...

As mentioned, one of the vital steps in preparation for arbitration is to examine the merits of your case.

How do you go about doing this?

Ask yourself the following eight important questions when preparing for arbitration

#1: Was a company rule or standard broken or not adhered to?

#2: Was the accused fully aware of the rule or standard in question?

#3: Was the rule or standard a reasonable one in the circumstances and did the penalty fit the crime? Was dismissal an appropriate sanction in the circumstances?

#4: Does your disciplinary code contain the rule, or was it communicated in some other way to all employees?

#5: Did the act or omission by the accused cause any financial loss or damage to the company?

#6: Were your procedures consistent with any past similar acts of misconduct by other employees, so you cannot be accused of discrimination?

'It would destroy your case if your opponent's witness testified he had committed a similar offence, and was given a written warning and is still employed by you,' warns the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

#7: Have you carefully examined your disciplinary code and procedures to make sure it contains nothing your ex-employee can use as ammunition?

#8: Have you carefully re-examined the paginated bundle of documents you prepared for the CCMA conciliation?

Remember, 'at arbitration you must give the Commissioner a bundle to refer to as the case proceeds. It must therefore be in perfect order and not hold any surprises,' says the Loose Leaf Service.

Asking yourself these important questions will help you examine the merits of your case as you prepare for arbitration. So make sure you never skip this step.

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