Prepare for a Disciplinary Hearing

Why and How to Prepare for a Disciplinary Hearing as an Employer or Employee

Whether you are an employee on the receiving end of a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing or are the employer, you need to prepare for a disciplinary hearing. Employees win many dismissal cases simply because the employers do not properly prepare for disciplinary hearings. Likewise, just as many employees have their dismissal cases thrown out by the CCMA because the employers have done their homework, while the employees have attended the hearings without proper preparation.


Prepare for a Disciplinary Hearing as an Employer

It is imperative to prepare well, in order to ensure procedural correctness. Assess the allegations against the employee to determine whether such allegations are valid or the result of hidden motives. Investigate the circumstances surrounding the particular incident. This includes reviewing the circumstances before the incident to establish why the alleged misconduct took place. In addition, review the evidence collected to determine what is, indeed, acceptable evidence and what is speculation or not trustworthy evidence.

Only once you have done all of the above and have determined the merits of the allegations should you proceed to formulate the charges that you want to bring against the employee in the disciplinary hearing. Appoint the person that will represent the employer and provide the evidence during the hearing. Identify which witnesses you will call and what evidence to present. Create a list of questions to ask the employee and the witnesses. Draft your closing statement.

In addition, you need to inform the employee of the date, time and, place of the hearing, as well as the charges against the employee. Make the evidence available to the employee and give the employee sufficient time to prepare their defence for the hearing.


Prepare for a Disciplinary Hearing as an Employee

If you have received a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing, you need to start your preparation immediately. Take the hearing seriously, as being dismissed for misconduct is not something you want on your CV.

Study the Labour Relations Act to ensure that you understand procedural fairness. The employer should give you sufficient time to prepare for a disciplinary hearing. This means that you are entitled to at least 24 hours for preparation. Check whether the notice for the disciplinary hearing states the exact allegation against you. It should also state that you have the right to be represented by a colleague or a representative. If the notice complies with the requirements for procedural correctness, you must start to prepare.

Start by reviewing the allegations brought against you to determine whether the allegations are fair or simply because of a hidden agenda by another employee or the employer. Review the circumstances leading up to the alleged incident. Review the evidence provided by the employer to determine if such evidence is sufficient proof. Decide whether you will use a representative or defend yourself. Choose the representative where relevant. Also, decide which witnesses to call in support of your defence and gather evidence in support of your defence.

Prepare questions for the employer’s witnesses and your witnesses. Also, prepare your answers to possible questions. Prepare your argument and provide evidence to defend against the allegations. Prepare a closing statement. If you feel unsure about your ability to prepare against the allegations, seek legal assistance. Even if the employer may not allow an attorney to represent you, we can still help you prepare for a disciplinary hearing.

Whether you are charged for misconduct or are bringing charges against an employee, call us on 011 234 2125 to assist in the preparation for a disciplinary hearing.


Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – February 2019.

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