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Sexwale fired in the middle of a meeting! Avoid these three big firing mistakes

by , 10 July 2013
Tokyo Sexwale is one of the most successful businessmen in South Africa, and until recently was a powerful minister. But even he's not immune to a shoddy firing experience. More often than not, a sudden or dramatic dismissal will land you in the CCMA! Avoid these crucial firing mistakes...

Tokyo Sexwale is currently the poster-boy for unfair (or at least ungraceful) dismissal.

After all, he was in the middle of a high-stakes management meeting when he learned that President Zuma had axed him from his post as Human Settlements Minister, reports IOLnews.

It may be tempting to throw caution to the wind and get sloppy when you fire someone. But the CCMA is on the side of the employee, so you've got to protect yourself!

Avoid these huge firing mistakes from Labour Law for Managers and you can keep far away from the CCMA…

Big Firing Mistake #1: Your reason for dismissal was vague

If you have a 'problem child' employee, it can often be difficult to point out one big reason for dismissing them. Small things like lateness, undocumented sick leave, underperformance and a bad attitude all stack up to your decision to fire them…

But when the CCMA asks you why you fired them, 'there's just something about her that bugs me' isn't going to fly! Be clear and concrete with your reason for dismissal.

Big Firing Mistake #2: You fired them in the heat of the moment, and didn't hold a hearing

No matter how serious the employee's offence is, you must follow proper procedure when dismissing them.
  • If the employee performed poorly, go through the performance management process. This must include counseling sessions to give him a fair chance to improve.
  • If she's too sick or injured to work, hold an incapacity hearing. Trying to find an alternative position for the employee in your company is part of the incapacity process.
  • If business is bad and you can't afford to employ him anymore, follow the full retrenchment process.
  • Hold a hearing if she's committed misconduct.
Big Firing Mistake #3: You deducted money from their final pay without authorisation

Though it seems natural and reasonable to you, deducting money without permission is a huge no-no. You absolutely need to have authorisation in the form of the employee's signed contract or a specific acknowledgement of debt relating to the money they owe the company. Ensure all your employment contracts have this permission explicitly stated, or the fired staff member could take you to the cleaners!

Avoid these huge firing mistakes and you can make a clean break with your employee. Don't let a Sexwale disaster drag your business to the CCMA!

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