General steps by an employee to appeal against a written warning:
1. An employer should establish the facts by doing an investigation in relation to the allegations being made against the employee. This may involve perusing documentary evidence, the employer’s written policies, video/social media evidence, engaging with the employee and witnesses who may shed light i.r.o the allegations.
2. Dependent on the outcome of the investigation, the employer may draft a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing setting out the charges, whether the employee is to suspended, the time, date and venue of the hearing, the employee’s rights etc.
3. Subsequent to the disciplinary hearing, the impartial chairperson shall draft his/her written findings and recommendation to impose a written warning or not against the employee. If a warning is recommended, the employer may endorse the recommendation.
4. An employee may lodge a written appeal within a reasonable time period challenging the warning. It should set out what decision is being appealed and the grounds for appeal.
5. If the appeal against the warning fails, the employee is entitled to refer the matter to the CCMA or appropriate Bargaining Council.
6. It is unlawful for an employer to fail to have an investigation, or to fail to engage with the employee by giving the employee an opportunity to state his/her case to rebut the allegations. It is a common flaw that employers draft written warnings by failing to have an investigation/ giving the employee an opportunity to state his/her case and merely instruct an employee to sign a pre-drafted warning.