The test for the substantive fairness of a dismissal for incompatibility may be formulated as follows:

• Did the employee’s conduct cause disharmony or tension in the work place?
• Was the disharmony and tension the result of the employee’s behavior?
• Was the disharmony and/ or tension irremediable?
• Did the disharmony and/ or tension have an adverse or potentially adverse effect on the employer’s business?
• Was the termination of the employee’s contract the only reasonable way in which the cause of the disharmony and/ or tension could be removed?

Furthermore, the incompatibility must have caused an irremediable breakdown if dismissal is to be accepted as a fair solution to the problem. As with all forms of dismissal, dismissal for incompatibility is an expedient of last resort; dismissal is not generally accepted as justified if the employee has not been counselled; or where it is possible without undue inconvenience to accommodate the employee in an alternative position.


Where there is incompatibility the employee must be advised what conduct allegedly causes the disharmony; who has been upset by the conduct; what remedial action is suggested to remove the incompatibility; that the employee be given a fair opportunity to consider the allegations and prepare a reply thereto; that he given a proper opportunity of putting his version; and that where it was found that he was responsible for the disharmony he must be given a fair opportunity to remove the cause for the disharmony.

For further information on any labour related matters, you can contact
Bernard Reisner:

W. Tel: 021 423 3959
Fax: 021 423 2105
Cell: 082 433 3959