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Ensure you meet these 8 requirements in order to have a fair disciplinary hearing

by , 21 December 2015
In 2015, there was a 2% increase in reported cases of unfair dismissal, to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. (CCMA), as opposed to 2014.

In light of this fact, you may feel very nervous to dismiss an employee, but we're here to help.

And in starting off, it can be safely said that BEFORE dismissing an employee, you should first hold a
FAIR disciplinary hearing for him.

Here are 8 vital requirements for a fair disciplinary hearing:


Notify the employee of the allegations made against him. Do so by making use of a form.

This form should be in a language that the employee can reasonably understand.

Give him at least 48 hours' notice of a disciplinary hearing.


Hold a hearing BEFORE you take any disciplinary action.

This is to give the employee a chance to challenge the evidence before you make a final decision.

Read on to see what the other 6 requirements are…

Everything you need to know about substantively and procedurally fair disciplinary hearings
So… Your employee's guilty of misconduct. Let's say he took a company laptop home, without asking permission. It's a simple open and closed case of theft, isn't it?
Not so fast! You can't just say 'that's it, you're out of here' and think that's the end of that. No, you still have to hold a disciplinary hearing. You still have to give him a chance to defend his case, and explain why he did that.
You also have to prove that he did this. You have to spell it out for him and notify him you're going to discipline him. And you have to give him time to prepare his case.
And then there's even more to it… You have to have a disciplinary hearing so you can prove your case, and give him a chance to defend his… And this is where most employers fail.
But not you! Here's why…

Article continued…

Ensure that the hearing takes place as soon as possible after the incident. Preferably no later than 2 to 3 weeks after the incident.


Advise your employee, in writing, of the exact charge you require him to answer WELL in advance of the hearing.

If you don't, you won't have given him a chance to prepare his defence.

Remember to lay out your allegation properly, and in simple and straightforward terms so that the employee can clearly understand what's happening.


The employee should be present at the hearing. But you can proceed with the hearing, even if he refuses to attend it without good reason (for example, he absconds).


You should the employee to call up witnesses in his defence or in mitigation.


The Chairperson MUST be impartial.


The employee is entitled to have the assistance of a trade union representative or a fellow employee to represent him in the disciplinary proceedings.

NOTE: The Chairperson of the hearing CAN allow the employee to have legal representation if he asks for it.
In determining whether or not he should have it, following 3 issues should be considered:

1.      The legal questions raised by the dispute;
2.      The complexity of the dispute; and
3.      The comparative abilities of the party.
*Do you want to learn more useful information and tips on dismissals? Then subscribe to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management today. 

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