Victim of an Unfair Dismissal?

Are You the Victim of an Unfair Dismissal?

Do you feel that you are the victim of an unfair dismissal? If so, you will benefit from the services offered by our firm to help you get reinstated or to get fair compensation.

You may have been dismissed for wrong conduct, but the procedure followed for dismissal was not fair. We briefly look at aspects of dismissal to help you get clarification on when you are the victim of an unfair dismissal, or have been dismissed for a valid reason and according to the correct procedures.

Code of Good Practice

The employer is supposed to provide advice and guidance for correction to deal with minor offences. If the conduct is repeated, the employer needs to give you a warning. If the misconduct is then repeated again, the employer should give you a final warning or take disciplinary action. You should only be dismissed for serious misconduct or offences that have been repeated after warnings, and corrective guidance and training. Unless the misconduct is extremely serious, the employer should not dismiss you for a first-time offence. The employer can dismiss you for a first-time offence if it is serious enough to make it intolerable to continue with the employment relationship.

The above are guidelines for good practice and not law when it comes to dismissals. With the above in mind, consider the question “Are you the victim of an unfair dismissal?” If the dismissal was done in accordance with the above and for a valid reason, you are not the victim of unfair dismissal.

If you have been dismissed for a first-time offence, consider the nature of the offence. If your conduct was wilful and endangered the safety of employees or clients, or you physically assaulted someone at work, then the offence was serious enough.

Why and When is Assault Serious Misconduct?

Assaulting a person at work is considered serious misconduct if it has the potential of disrupting harmony at the workplace, causes loss of work time because the victim needs to take sick leave to recuperate, or causes the possibility of the employer being sued. If the assault causes the employer to lose business, then the employer also has the right to dismiss you even though it is your first offence.

When is it an Automatic Unfair Dismissal?

Have you been dismissed for another reason and do you believe you are thus a victim of unfair dismissal? If you have been dismissed for any of the reasons below, then it was an automatic unfair dismissal and you have the right to refer the issue to the CCMA or the relevant Bargaining Council.

Dismissal because you:

  • Participated in a protected strike or indicated your intention to be involved in the strike.
  • Refused to do the work of another employee involved in a protected strike.
  • Refused to accept the employer’s changes or proposed changes in the employment arrangement.
  • Exercised your rights in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
  • Are or were pregnant.
  • Refused to partake in an unlawful action.
  • Reported the employer for breaking the law.


If you have been dismissed for an arbitrary reason that constitutes discrimination based on gender, race, colour, disability, religious belief, marital status, or age, then the dismissal was unfair. Unless the dismissal was directly related to the fulfilment of important job requirements. it was unfair.

If the business is sold and the new employer dismisses you because he has his own employees and as such, the takeover resulted in too many employees, then it can also be seen as unfair dismissal.

When is Dismissal Fair?

Dismissal is fair if it is for reasons such as conduct or capacity of the employee, and for operational requirements. The employer must still consider the circumstances of the employee, whether it is a serious offence, whether it is a first-time offence, and whether another action can be taken, rather than dismissal. In addition, the employer must follow the correct dismissal procedures and ensure that correct remuneration is given.

If you are unsure whether or not you have been a victim of an unfair dismissal, speak to our labour lawyers who will help you determine the merits of your case and advise you regarding the procedures to follow in getting reinstated or receiving the required compensation. You have the right not to be unfairly dismissed and as such, should seek legal guidance as soon as possible from the date of the incident, in order to take the necessary steps in referring the issue to the CCMA or Bargaining Council.

Contact us on (011) 234 2125, should you need advice from a labour attorney regarding unfair dismissals.


NB: this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information. The information is relevant to the date of publishing.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top