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Test Yourself


The following three examples are based on actual South African cases. Please answer the questions below. You should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete your answer.


  • The initial complaint leading to the dispute was that an employee was employed as a mechanical fitter and had adjusted the valve on a blower machine without first having obtained a work permit to undertake the job. He was called into a meeting but during his explanation he was interrupted by the engineer. He then walked out of the meeting. The employee was found guilty of breaching a rule (undertaking work without a permit) and of gross insubordination (for walking out of the meeting). The CCMA commissioner found that the applicant had been unfairly dismissed and it ordered reinstatement with back pay. The Labour Court upheld the commissioner’s decision.
  • An employer experienced significant stock losses over a fairly lengthy period. As a result, the employer took a number of steps to improve its security measures. These included:- − Changing locks and locking various doors; − Appointing a security guard to patrol and to search employees when they left the store; − Installing CCTV cameras in various places; − Communicating with the employees about the shrinkage and informing them, their trade union and shop steward representative about its zero tolerance attitude towards theft and misappropriation of stock. It was made clear to the employees that it was part of their duties and responsibilities to avoid stock losses and to report any dishonest activities in relation to stock to the employer. All employees who worked on the shift where stock was missing were charged with misconduct and dismissed as none of the employees on the shift would provide any information on how the stock losses had come about. They were found guilty at a disciplinary enquiry and all were dismissed. The employer gave evidence at the arbitration that after the dismissal of the employees there were no further significant stock losses. The CCMA Commissioner found the dismissals to be substantively unfair because the employer had not proved that any of the individual employees were guilty.
  • An employee who suffers from epilepsy is dismissed by his employer on the grounds of incapacity, as a result of him suffering a number of seizures. After his dismissal he is informed by the Provident Fund that they have declined his application for a disability pension on the grounds that he is ‘fit for work’.

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