Even with our Labour Relations Act, attorneys in South Africa still see a fair number of claims for unfair dismissal by ex-employees. Employers are obliged to follow a Code of Good Practice in dismissing employees. The employer must always have a good reason for dismissal.

What are good and practical reasons according to the Code of Good Practice? Misconduct by an employee is a practical reason to dismiss an employee. For example, rudeness toward customers or vendors; repeatedly showing up late for work; refusing to follow a superior’s direction.

If the employee is physically or mentally unable to do the job for which he or she was hired the employer can dismiss that employee. A dock worker is unable to put in a full day of lifting heavy packages; a factory workers’ production time is too slow; after a reasonable training time, you still overbake the cookies. A lazy and unmotivated employee who does half of the expected work is fair game for dismissal.

Says Who?

South African attorneys are keenly aware that there are two sides to every story. The employee must always be granted a fair hearing before dismissal. However, it is easy to see how an employer might interpret an employee’s actions as lazy, incompetent or insubordinate. It is just as easy to see how certain employee behaviour could be misinterpreted. It is always possible the employer failed to mention that sometimes the boxes are heavier, they do not use timers when baking cookies and the lazy employee is actually pregnant.

In South Africa, Attorneys Will Argue Your Side

Sometimes employees are dismissed unfairly. The unfairness of the situation may not be immediately apparent. So if you have been dismissed by your employer unexpectedly and in retrospect, the reasons seem off and unfair you should discuss them with an attorney.  You may have cause for recourse. Your employer is not likely to hear your side of the issue. However, your attorney knows how to get the boss’s attention.

When you have never been dismissed before you may not have a frame of reference for what is fair. Paul Du Plessis Attorneys are familiar with such cases and they know what to look for. Know your employee rights. Consult an attorney in South Africa if you feel you have been unfairly dismissed.

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