We often receive complaints from employers that their employees have left without notice or have committed some sort of unfairness and they want to refer the matter, either to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration or to a Bargaining Council. We always advise employers to rather take internal disciplinary action and if necessary dismiss, but referring the matter to the CCMA or a Bargaining Council is not acceptable.

In an interesting case, the National Entitled Workers’ Union vs CCMA and others, the President of the Union resigned with very little notice and for no good reason. The Union referred the matter to the CCMA who refused to entertain the referral on the basis that the employee’s resignation did not fall under the definition of an unfair labour practice. Thereafter the Union applied to the Labour Court for the ruling of the CCMA to be reviewed. The Union sought an order declaring that the Labour Relations Act was wrong because it didn’t give employers a remedy against unfair labour practises perpetrated against them by the employee. The Labour Court again dismissed the Application for Review on the basis that the concept of unfair labour practise does not include an unfair labour practise committed by an employee against an employer.

The Court specifically stated that employers don’t need any protection against unfair resignation by employees.

Contact Bernard Reisner 021 423 3959 or e-mail bernard@capelabour.co.za