Consider these four factors when deciding if dismissal is fitting

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 21 Nov. 2014

Tags: ccma, dismissal, how to ensure dismissal is fair

Employers often say South African labour laws are designed to protect employees the most.

In response, some individuals say employers like to wine and don’t want to comply with legislation.

While it’s true that some employers don’t like to comply with laws, employers do have a point as well.

Take dismissal for example. An employee breaks your rules and does something totally unacceptable. While one would assume dismissal is the logical thing to do right away, labour laws say you must consider certain factors first to decide if dismissal is fitting.

So despite your anger and frustration for what your employee has done, you must calm yourself down and consider these factors. If you don’t, it could amount to unfair dismissal and that’s costly.

Don’t take any chances. Keep reading to discover the four factors you must consider when deciding if dismissal is appropriate and ensure your employee’s dismissal is fair.

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To decide if dismissal is appropriate, take these four factors into account

One of the rules you must follow to ensure dismissal is substantively fair is to establish if the sanction is suitable.
This means, when you discipline your employee, you must consider any aggravating and mitigating factors to decide on the appropriate sanction or punishment, after the employee’s been found guilty.
So to decide if dismissal is fitting, you must consider these factors:
1. The seriousness of the misconduct
If your employee’s conduct is so serious it breaks the trust relationship between the two of you, dismissal is fitting, even if it’s his first offence.
2. The nature of your employee’s job
According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, it’s an aggravating factor if a security guard commits theft. It goes against the nature of his job. The same applies to a Human Resources officer who abuses sick leave, because he’s the custodian of the sick leave procedure.
3. Your employee’s length of service
Long service usually counts in your employee’s favour, but, in certain instances, it could make the situation worse. This will be when long service has established a greater trust relationship your employee’s broken.
4. Your employee’s previous disciplinary record
You must take into account whether or not this is your employee’s first offence.
If you find there’s a pattern of recurring behaviour, you can take harsher action. You can, for example, issue a final written warning, rather than a first written one.
Just make sure you follow these rules when you issue a written warning.
While you may argue that labour laws protect your employees the most and make it harder for you to dismiss, the reality is, you don’t have much of a choice – you must follow the law or prepare to pay a heavy price.

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If you don’t take these factors into account and dismiss your employee unfairly, you’ll face these consequences…

According to, “even if you have due cause for the dismissal, not following the correct procedures can see you paying a very costly visit to the CCMA.”
Not only will you have to spend money on legal fees, but, you could be ordered to reinstate your employee or compensate him. This can range from having to pay 12 months salary to 24 months salary.

As you can see, non-compliance is out of the question. Consider these four factors when deciding if dismissal is fitting and ensure dismissal is fair.

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