17th November 2018 at 3:04 pm #7898Ivan IsraelstamSpectator
HOW MUCH ADVANCE NOTICE MUST EMPLOYERS GIVE OF DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS?
Schedule 8 of the LRA says that employers should give employees accused of misconduct a reasonable amount of time to prepare their responses but does not say what constitutes a reasonable preparation period. What is a reasonable preparation period?20th November 2018 at 3:49 pm #7900Michael BagraimKeymaster
TIME ALLOWED BEFORE DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS
The practice and regulations have always recommended 48 hours. In order to give less than that the parties would have to agree, and such agreement should preferably be in writing.
However, 48 hours might be absolutely impractical in situations where the issues are complex, the evidence needed is varied and witnesses are unavailable.
It is recommended that employers objectively assess the nature of the dispute and carefully analyse how much work an employee has to do in order to effectively defend him or herself.
My experience has been that the employer would engage with the employee and or the employees representatives in order to take into account their input with regard to the timing of a disciplinary hearing.
20 November 201821st November 2018 at 9:41 am #8011Ingrid LewinKeymaster
What I recommend to employers as a guideline is to bear in mind how much time they took to investigate and prepare for the hearing and then to allow the employee an equivalent amount of time. However, I strongly agree with Michael, that, ideally, it should be by agreement. This has a several advantages. Not only will it add weight to a chairperson’s decision to proceed if the employee and / or his / her representative fails to attend, but it will also enhance the employee’s perception that the hearing was fair. The more the employee is part of the decision regarding the logistics (the date, time, place and, wherever possible, the identity of the chairperson), the less likely a claim of procedural unfairness will succeed. If this is written into a disciplinary code, however, the final say should be given to the employer as an employee may refuse to agree in order to delay the inevitable. Including shop stewards in this decision will also help to improve industrial relations.24th November 2018 at 12:24 pm #8017Patrick DealeKeymaster
I agree with Michael and Ingrid’s opinions. If the parties can’t agree on how much time would be reasonable in a particular case, I recommend that they convene the inquiry and request the chairperson to make a ruling on the issue. This passes the responsibility to a neutral person to make an objective decision. In so doing, it lowers the risk of an procedural irregularity.
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