Article 32/2021

Labour Edge

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


The labour court recently, in De Kock v CCMA and Others (2019) 30 SALLR 177 (LC), relied on the following approach adopted in Wasteman Group v SA Municipal Workers Union and Others (2012) 33 ILJ 2054 (LAC), at 2057G–I, to emphasise the requirement of an independent decision by such commissioner:

‘…The commissioner is required to come to an independent decision as to whether the employer’s decision was fair in the circumstances, these circumstances being established by the factual matrix confronting the commissioner…’

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?

In general terms, the determination of the fairness of a dismissal requires an arbitrator to form a value judgment, having regard to the interests of both the employer and the employee, and to achieve a balanced and equitable assessment of the fairness of the sanction.  What are the types of factors to be taken into account in determining whether the employer had thus acted fairly in deciding to dismiss an employee?