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Revealed: The vital business lesson you can learn from Vavi's move to challenge his suspension

by , 27 March 2014
Suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is taking his suspension to court. Vavi was suspended last year pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee. He's now challenging his suspension because he believes his employer (Cosatu) followed the wrong procedure when suspending him. The matter will be heard in court today. If you want to avoid a similar showdown in your workplace, continue reading to find out how to suspend an employee in a legal manner.

Here's why Vavi believes his suspension wasn't fair

Eye Witness News reports that Vavi says Cosatu's Central Executive Committee failed to hold a vote as required by its constitution when suspending him.

'The constitution provides that when you have a divided meeting with two motions you have to place the issue for voting, of which there was none in my case,' says Vavi in the report.

While your company's procedure may be different from Cosatu's, the same principle applies when it comes to suspensions: You must follow a legal procedure when suspending an employee.

And that's a lesson you can't afford not to learn!

But how do you do this?

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Labour law requires you to follow these six steps when suspending an employee

Experts at the Labour & HR Club advise you to follow these six steps if you want to ensure suspension is legal:

  1. Tell your employee that you're thinking about suspending him. You must do this in writing.
  2. Tell him the reasons why you want to suspend him. These reasons must be fair and serious enough to warrant suspension.
  3. Let him know that he has a chance to convince you that you shouldn't suspend him. Giving the employee a chance to have his say is crucial to ensuring the procedure is fair. In Vavi's case, it seems like he's alleging that he wasn't given a chance to state his case.
  4. Consider his reasons rationally. You don't have to agree with what he says, but you do have to show you've taken his motivation into consideration.
  5. Tell the employee whether you've decided to suspend him or not. Again, back this up with fair reasons.
  6. If you decide to suspend him, send him a written notice of suspension.

If you fail to suspend your employee in a fair manner, you'll face these consequnces...

Solidarity Legal Services says if an employee is unfairly suspended, he or she may file a complaint of unfair labour practice against you under section 186 (2) (b) of the Labour Relations Act (No. 66 of 1995).

Since a drawn out legal dispute is the last thing you want, follow the correct procedure when suspensing your employee. Stick to what the law says and follow your company's policy when it comes to suspension.

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