Employees on Probation: Can You Dismiss for Poor Performance?

Employees on Probation: Can You Dismiss for Poor Performance?

Our laws allow employers to hire new employees on a probationary basis, and doing so can give both parties time to assess how good the “fit” actually is and whether the employee should become a permanent one. Employers must however avoid falling into the trap of thinking that they can dismiss a probationary employee at will; on the contrary they must ensure both “substantive” and “procedural” fairness at all stages of the process. But how do you ensure fairness? The Labour Relations Act’s “Code of Good Practice: Dismissal” provides important guidelines in this regard (note that what is set out…
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Aging Employees: When Must They Retire?

Aging Employees: When Must They Retire?

Record numbers of Baby Boomers are now reaching their 60s, and if you are an employer in any size of business (from the smallest family-owned enterprise to the largest corporate), make sure now that you have a policy in place to handle the thorny question of compulsory retirement. This is vital – sooner or later you are going to have an employee turning 55 or 60 or 65, and if you think you can just say “Happy Birthday Kim, time for you to retire, see you around” you are in for big trouble. So what’s the legally required retirement age?…
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It’s late for racism – SARS v the CCMA and Others 2016 ZACC 38

It’s late for racism – SARS v the CCMA and Others 2016 ZACC 38

Mr Jacobus Johannes Kruger ("Kruger") was employed by the South African Revenue Services ("SARS") from November 1991 and served as an anti-smuggling officer at the time of his dismissal. On the 27th of July 2007, after an altercation with Mr Abel Mboweni ("Mboweni"), his superior at the time, he referred to him as a ‘k*ffir’. The charges brought against him, and the internal hearing Consequently and in accordance with the relevant agreements in place at the time, SARS arranged a disciplinary hearing where Kruger faced the following charges: That he had said: “Ek kan nie verstaan hoe k*ffirs dink nie”…
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Employees: Must you report wrongdoers? A violent strike illustrates

Employees: Must you report wrongdoers? A violent strike illustrates

“…an employee bound implicitly by a duty of good faith towards the employer breaches that duty by remaining silent about knowledge possessed by the employee regarding the business interests of the employer being improperly undermined”  (Extract from judgment below) Our laws and courts provide strong protection for the right of employees to go on strike, and are quick to shield participants in a protected strike from any unlawful action against them by their employers. But this is subject to the important provision that strikers (and their unions) must always act within the law, which includes the fundamental requirement that strike…
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Baby Boomers: At What Age Must You Retire?

Baby Boomers: At What Age Must You Retire?

Employers need to be particularly on their guard for cases in which a workplace dismissal is automatically unfair.  Our courts take a particularly dim view of discrimination cases falling into this category. Age discrimination is one such instance, and an employer faced with such a claim can defend it only by proving (the onus is on the employer) that the employee has reached “the normal or agreed retirement age for persons employed in that capacity”. With “Baby Boomers” (people born between 1946 and 1964) now retiring in record numbers, expect to see a spike in disputes and litigation over retirement…
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