Article 26/2023

The constitutional court recently, in McGregor v Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (2021) 32 SALLR 33 (CC), had the opportunity to deal with the perception that, once a finding is made that an employee has been unfairly dismissed, he or she is automatically entitled to a remedy.

What was the approach adopted by the constitutional court?

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With reference to Kemp t/a Centralmed v Rawlins (2009) 30 ILJ 2677 (LAC), the constitutional court
held the following viewpoint: ‘Although every employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed in
terms of s185(a) of the LRA, the infringement of that right neither necessarily nor automatically
confers a right to a remedy…’

In short, the above approach entails that arbitrators will be required to justify why a remedy (e g
reinstatement, re-employment or compensation) was specifically granted on the facts of the case and,
if they are not able to do so, this would potentially constitute a reviewable ground for such arbitration
award.

With reference to Potgieter v Samancor Chrome Ltd t/a Tubatse Ferrochrome (2022) 33 SALLR 190 (LC) and Van Rensburg and Others v Department of Justice and Correctional Services and Others (2022) 33 SALLR 280 (LC); (2022) 43 ILJ 2110 (LC).

In what instances does the jurisdiction of the supreme court of appeal trump the jurisdiction of the labour appeal court?

Where an employer prematurely terminates a fixed-term contract and the employee challenges such termination as being unlawful and claims damages and not specific performance, the labour court has up to now ordered damages even though same is an unliquidated claim for damages.