Article 28/2021

Labour Edge

In order to resist an order or award of reinstatement, is it always a requirement to lead evidence of the irretrievable breakdown of the trust relationship?


The labour appeal court recently, in Drs Dietrich, Voight & Mia t/a Pathcare v Bennett NO and Others (2019) 30 SALLR 160 (LAC), adopted the following approach: in a situation where no evidence was adduced during the trial or arbitration, as in this case, on the effect of an order or an award of reinstatement, the court or the commissioner should consider all the factors and circumstances relevant to that form of relief, including the gravity of the offence committed by the employee. Equally trite is that that dismissal is a penalty of last resort because of the harsh consequences it may have on an employee who is dismissed (Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa obo Ngedle and Others v Unitrans Fuel and Chemical (Pty) Ltd ([2016] 11 BCLR 1440 (CC); (2016) 37 ILJ 2485 (CC); [2016] 11 BLLR 1059 (CC), at paragraph [173]).

Is it always required to lead evidence about the destruction of the trust relationship in order to avoid a reinstatement order?

On what basis did the labour court recently hold, in De Kock v CCMA and Others (2019) 30 SALLR 177 (LC), that insubordination destroys the relationship of trust, mutual confidence and respect, and generally makes the continued employment relationship intolerable?

To what extent is a commissioner permitted to rely on the employer’s decision in determining whether or not a dismissal is fair?