Article 37/2022

What are the principles governing compensation when a dismissal is only procedurally unfair?


In Zeda Car Leasing (Pty) Ltd t/a Avis Fleet v Van Dyk (2020) 31 SALLR 151 (LAC), the following principles were identified:

  • compensation is the appropriate remedy in terms of s193(2)(d) of the LRA
  • such compensation must be just and equitable in all circumstances (s194(1) of the LRA)

In Johnson & Johnson v CWIU (1999) 20 ILJ 89 (LAC), the following was stated in this regard:

  • actual loss or patrimonial (pecuniary) loss is irrelevant
  • the award is actually for a solatium as redress
  • various factors are to be taken into account to determine the extent of the award:
  • the extent of the deviation from a fair procedure
  • the employee’s conduct
  • the employee’s length of service
  • anxiety and hurt that the employee suffered

(See, further, Alpha Plant v Simmonds [2001] 3 BLLR 361 (LAC); Lorentzen v Sanachem (Pty) Ltd [1998] 8 BLLR 814 (LC))

The appeal court can only interfere with an irregularity misdirection in respect of the awarding of compensation if:

  • the court a quo ignored relevant factors or
  • the decision was based on inadequate facts

Road Accident Fund v Guedes 2006 (5) SA 583 (SCA)

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.