2 important factors to avoid any expectations of a fixed-term contract renewal
Did you know that if you don't renew a fixed-term contract, and the employee has an expectation that you would, then you could be liable for an unfair dismissal?
That's right! In a situation like this, the employee can view your ending of the contract as an unfair dismissal, as long as he can prove that he had a 'reasonable expectation' that you'd do so.
So how can you prevent this from ever happening?
Well, the Court usually looks at the following 2 factors to determine whether there is reasonable expectation or not.
Take a look and make sure you don't create any of them, after which you'll end up an unnecessary case at the CCMA...
Be warned! The Labour Relations Amendment Act changes the way you treat fixed-term and temporary employees!
Factor#1: How you deal with the employment relationship
You could create an expectation of renewal by arranging the employee's work schedule for the future.
Or you could also indicate that the employee will still be working for you after the contract expires by, for example, issuing a written warning which is valid beyond the expiry date of the fixed-term contract.
Factor#2: Your motive to end the relationship
You SHOULDN'T use the expiry of the contract as a reason when, for example, it was REALLY because of misconduct-related issues.
In other words, let's say an employee steals from you. Now, instead of using the expiry of the contract to end the relationship, hold a disciplinary hearing for her and consider dismissal as one of your legal options.
To use the expiry of the contract in a situation like the above could easily end you up with a case at the CCMA.
*So those were 2 factors to remember in order to avoid an unnecessary expectation of renewal from a fixed-term employee.
But did you know that there are 8 other VERY important points which the Court will look at when determining an expectation of renewal?
In order to see them, simply page over to chapter F 01
in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management
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