For a disciplinary hearing to be valid certain requirements must be met. Those requirements are discussed in this article.
The date, time and place must be communicated to the employee in writing. The employee must then be given reasonable time within which to prepare for the hearing. What would be considered to be a “reasonable time” would be determined by the extent and severity of the charge or charges. In the absence of exceptional facts a notice period of three days should be sufficient.
The charge or charges must be properly stated in the notice given to the employee to enable him to properly prepare to defend himself and respond to the charges.
The following parties have to be involved in a hearing: a presiding officer, the complainant, the employee (respondent) and an interpreter, should such be required. The complainant and the employee are entitled to call witnesses to strengthen their case. A fellow employee can accompany the respondent to represent the latter. As a rule, legal representation is not allowed at disciplinary hearings. However, the employee’s legal representative may lodge an application to represent his client, and if the presiding officer allows it, the hearing may proceed with legal representation.
The presiding officer must be objective and should not have prior knowledge of the matter. Moreover, proceedings must be recorded and a full written record must be kept. If neither party has an objection to it, the proceedings may be recorded electronically.
The charge or charges will then be put to the employee and the employee will be given opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. The hearing will then proceed under the supervision of the presiding officer.
After the hearing, the presiding officer will hand down his findings, notifying the parties that the CCMA may be approached should the employee be of the opinion that the outcome was not fair.
Author: Dems Nel