When it becomes necessary to discipline an employee, it is absolutely important to be meticulous in the preparation of the case. The company’s code of conduct as well as the company’s disciplinary code must be the foundation that the disciplinary action will be built on. Consistency and fairness must be reflected in the disciplinary process.
Many times, the person responsible for taking disciplinary action lacks the basic skills to do so. Where action is taken against an employee without adequate justification leading to a dismissal, the company is opening itself up to the risk of losing the case at the CCMA. By far the highest risk to a company is manager that abuses their position in order to take action against an employee they have a personal issue with.
All that is required in a case like this for the company to suffer losses as a result of the unfair action of the manager, is for a single piece of proof to be presented to the commissioner at the hearing. Once the substantive unfairness of the disciplinary action is proved, the company has lost the case. Messages and emails are the most commonly incriminating pieces of evidence submitted as proof of either bias or collusion in disciplinary matters.
The labour laws of South Africa may not be perfect, but they’re still the measure whereby all labour claims are judged.