The term “dismissal” refers to the termination of employment. There are various types of dismissals. So, for you to know the different types of dismissal that can be given to an employee, I listed all the types of dismissals in South Africa with brief details to understand them, how you as an employer must carry them out, and what you can do about it.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Types Of Dismissal In South Africa
1. Fair dismissal
Fair dismissal is a type of dismissal whereby an employer has good and justifiable reasons for his action.
Redundancy will also fall under this section although the reasons why an employee is picked for redundancy must be fair and just, that’s entirely another topic. Reasons for a fair dismissal in South Africa can be due to an employee’s conduct, capability, and or qualifications.
Conduct and capability are most times the most common reasons for fair dismissal.
In this kind of situation, an employer would have acted fairly and justifiably, so that there would be very little room to protest the final decision made.
2. Voluntary redundancy
Voluntary redundancy a type of dismissal basically practiced in South Africa, whereby an employer asks staff to agree to terminate their contract, in return for a financial incentive.
If it’s known to you that your employer is going to be making redundancies, you can as well volunteer to put yourself forward for it, which would also count as a fair dismissal.
People often tend to go for voluntary redundancy so that they can save themselves the hassle of waiting and not actually knowing what’s happening when they know their job is at risk. However, just because you volunteer for redundancy doesn’t really mean your employer will select you because they have no legal obligation to do that.
3. Unfair dismissal
Unfair dismissal is a situation whereby an employee has not been informed prior to their dismissal, or the employer has also not followed the normal policy regarding dismissals or disciplinary.
Before a dismissal can be implemented, there is a need for series of processes that prove that the employee deserves to be dismissed.
An unfair dismissal can really be tricky to prove, so it’s a good idea to consider anything that could have been a cause for it. This might include things like you have joined a union, felt like you were forced to be retired, or requested flexible working.
Those examples are all things that fall under your employees’ rights, so you cannot be dismissed simply on those grounds alone. Moreover, Some dismissals will fall under the category of being “automatically unfair” so it won’t need much probing in order to demonstrate that the dismissal was totally unfair.
4. Constructive dismissal
Constructive dismissal is also a popular type of dismissal practiced in South Africa.
This dismissal happens when you feel you need to leave your job or feel “pushed out” due to the way your employer treats you.
This can be a difficult one to prove, as what is regarded as acceptable or unacceptable conduct is subjective and open to interpretation, even when using policies as a guideline.
Stopping your salary is an example of constructive dismissal; this would be a very clear case that would easily stand up in an Employment Tribunal.
Your salary cannot be withheld regardless of where an employee stands in the disciplinary or dismissal process.
Another scenario could be if you as an employee are being intimidated and/or harassed at work. This scenario may be more difficult to prove, as the evidence, like that of wrongful dismissal, is open to interpretation.
You should consult an independent organization before taking any action to see if you have a case for constructive dismissal.
5. Wrongful dismissal
Wrongful dismissal is also well-practiced in SA. It could easily be confused with unfair dismissal, it is also applicable as it’s called “Wrongful ”
Wrongful dismissals only concern your employment contract and whether your employer terminated you in violation of it.
There is no consideration about whether the dismissal was “fair” or not because the main focus is on whether your employer violated a term of your employment contract.
Most times, wrongful dismissal refers to whether you were fired without notice or with less than the stated minimum notice period.
What are the most common reasons for dismissal?
Dismissal should be your last option—you hired this employee for their skills, experience, or both. So getting rid of them is not something you should do.
But if you feel there is a serious reason to push them out the door, then a fair dismissal can be justified for one of the five reasons listed below;
- Poor behavior
- Lacking ability or qualifications for the job
- Redundancy, for example, when reducing the size of a team.
- A statutory duty or a restriction that prevents them from continuing to work
Even with the above list, dismissing a member of staff is not as simple as saying “You’re fired!”
You’ll need to do a little more to demonstrate that you’ve acted fairly and consistently before letting someone go. Otherwise, you risk unfairly dismissing your employees.
This brings us to the disciplinary procedure.
To avoid an unfair dismissal South Africa claim, you should take the following steps in the following order:
- Engage in an Informal conversation and suggest the areas for improvement.
- Issue a verbal warning
- Issue the first written warning
- Issue the second written warning.
- Issue the last written warning
- Then, dismissal, demotion, or transfer to another department can be implemented