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Mickey Arthur accuses Cricket Australia of unfair dismissal - Avoid a similar situation by following these seven golden rules

by , 23 July 2013
A war of words is brewing between Cricket Australia (CA) and sacked Australian coach Mickey Arthur. This after reports emerged last week that Arthur was suing CA for up to R40 million for racial discrimination. In the latest development, Arthur alleges CA didn't follow a proper procedure when dismissing him. CA has denied Arthur's claims. While mediation talks between Arthur and CA kick off tomorrow, you can equip yourself with the seven golden rules of firing an employee properly. This way, you can rest assured you'll have a solid defence if you're ever taken to the CCMA for unfair dismissal.

Firing an employee can be an expensive exercise if you don't do it properly. And that's something CA might learn the hard way.

According to FoxSport, Arthur said he was disappointed that details of the dispute between him and CA were made public. He also said CA had failed to notify him in writing of his dismissal or pay him out properly. This despite his efforts to contact senior level management for days.

Arthur is quoted as saying: 'after my dismissal, I received nothing in writing from Cricket Australia, no contact and no payment at all, even on my basic leave pay, until I was forced to bring in lawyers to assist in the process.'

The good news is you can avoid making this costly mistake. All you need to do is follow these simple rules when dismissing your employee.

Want to fire an employee? Follow these seven rules to avoid a CCMA case

Rule#1: Act calmly and rationally

Never lose your temper or act without thinking. Give yourself time to calm down and consider all aspects of the employee's conduct. If you're angry, you won't investigate the facts properly. And that means you might hold a disciplinary hearing or dismiss without being clear on exactly what your employee did wrong, says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

Remember, if your decision to dismiss isn't properly motivated or backed up with facts, the CCMA will probably overturn your decision and you'll have to reemploy him.

Rule#2: Be clear on your reason for dismissal

Never dismiss your employee without being clear about the reason for doing so. Follow the correct procedure based on your reasons.

For example, go through a performance management process if your employee isn't performing properly. You must include counselling and give him a fair chance to improve before you consider dismissing him.

Rule#3: State the charges clearly and simply

Never use complicated names for disciplinary charges when preparing allegations for a hearing. Describe what your employee did wrong in plain and simple language. This is more important than giving the offence a fancy name.

Your employee must know what case he has to defend. Calling it 'gross negligence' means nothing unless you state clearly what he did that amounts to gross negligence.

Rule#4: Always hold a hearing

Never fire your employee without giving him a hearing and sufficient notice of it. No matter how serious the misconduct, or how poor his work performance has been, you'll be giving him a blank cheque from the CCMA.

Rule#5: Follow your own policies and procedures

Never fire your employee without following all the steps in your disciplinary procedure or policy. The courts don't have sympathy for employers who don't comply with their own procedures or policies.

Rule#6: Consider another penalty

Never fire your employee without considering if there's another penalty that would be sufficient. If a penalty short of dismissal will correct his unacceptable behaviour and you haven't lost all trust and faith in him, impose the lesser penalty. Give him the chance to correct his behaviour.

Rule#7: Don't give a good reference

Don't give the employee you've fired for poor performance a reference that says he was a good performer. You'll be misleading prospective future employers. He can also use this as evidence against you if he refers a dispute to the CCMA.

Remember, if you don't follow these rules, you could easily find yourself losing your case at the CCMA and paying up to 12 months' compensation. So stick to these rules to ensure you avoid the CA's mistake and dismiss your employees fairly..

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