Human Resources South Africa

Code of Good Practise on Dismissals

Code of Good Practise on Dismissals

November 09
20:41 2010

1 Introduction

(1) This code of good practice deals with some of the key aspects of unfair dismissals in South Africa for reasons related to conduct and capacity. It is intentionally general. Each case is unique, and departures from the norms established by this Code may be justified in proper circumstances. For example, the number of employees employed in an establishment may warrant a different approach.

(2) This Act emphasises the primacy of collective agreements. This Code is not intended as a substitute for disciplinary codes and procedures where these are the subject of collective agreements, or the outcome of joint decision-making by an employer and a workplace forum.

(3) The key principle in this Code is that employers and employees should treat one another with mutual respect. A premium is placed on both employment justice and the efficient operation of business. While employees should be protected from arbitrary action, employers are entitled to satisfactory conduct and work performance from their employees.
2 Fair reasons for dismissal

(1) A dismissal is unfair if it is not effected for a fair reason and in accordance with a fair procedure, even if it complies with any notice period in a contract of employment or in legislation governing employment. Whether or not a dismissal is for a fair reason is determined by the facts of the case, and the appropriateness of dismissal as a penalty. Whether or not the procedure is fair is determined by referring to the guidelines set out below.

(2) This Act recognises three grounds on which a termination of employment might be legitimate. These are: the conduct of the employee, the capacity of the employee, and the operational requirements of the employer’s business.

(3) This Act provides that a dismissal is automatically unfair if the reason for the dismissal is one that amounts to an infringement of the fundamental rights of employees and trade unions, or if the reason is one of those listed in section 187. The reasons include participation in a lawful strike, intended or actual pregnancy and acts of discrimination.

(4) In cases where the dismissal is not automatically unfair, the employer must show that the reason for dismissal is a reason related to the employee’s conduct or capacity, or is based on the operational requirements of the business. If the employer fails to do that, or fails to prove that the dismissal was effected in accordance with a fair procedure, the dismissal is unfair.

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle
    Michelle August 09, 17:03

    What are the rules concerning theft…. ?
    Can you fire a person caught stealing on the spot ?

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