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Do you want to hold a pre-arbitration conference? Then here are five issues you must deal with

by , 08 October 2015
Arbitration consists of a full re-hearing of your dismissal case with an employee. This includes an investigation into the 'fairness' of your procedures that lead up to a dismissal of an employee.

So, it's important to be prepared.

There are several steps involved in effectively preparing for arbitration, and one of those steps is a pre-arbitration conference.

A pre-arbitration conference should be held with your employee or with his legal representative.

The purpose of the pre-arbitration conference is to discuss any issues BEFORE going to arbitration.

This is to shorten the proceeding and save time.

The CCMA Rule (Number 20) gives out a number of issues that you must deal with at this conference. They include:

1.      The sharing and exchange of relevant documents as well as the preparation of a bundle of documents, which must be numbered and in chronological order.
 
2.      The way in which documentary evidence must be dealt with at arbitration. This includes any agreement on the status of documents as well as if the documents will act as evidence of what they appear to be. In other words, do the parties agree the evidence provides proof with regard to what it claims to?
 
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3.      Whether or not an affidavit will be submitted with the right of either of the parties to cross-examine the person who made it.
 
4.      Which party must begin at arbitration. No Act lays down which party should start first, but usually it is the employer's representative who presents her case because the onus of proof lies on the employer with regard to the dismissal.
 
5.      The right to representation. Where cases involve anything other than misconduct or incapacity, legal representation is allowed.
Cases involving misconduct or incapacity don't allow for it, unless all parties, including the Commissioner, agree to it.
 

Those are, amongst several other steps, the five important issues to deal with at a pre-arbitration conference.

To find out more issues you need to deal with, subscribe to the loose leaf service advertised below.

Remember that this step (pre-arbitration) is not a requirement, but it is preferable.

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