Unfair Dismissals

In South African law, unfair dismissal refers to the termination of an employee’s contract of employment without a fair reason or without following a fair process. The Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides for the protection of employees against unfair dismissal and sets out the procedures that employers must follow in order to terminate an employee’s contract of employment.

Employees who believe they have been unfairly dismissed can refer the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for conciliation and, if necessary, arbitration. If the CCMA finds that the dismissal was unfair, it may order the employer to reinstate the employee, or to pay the employee compensation.

Employers are required to have a fair reason for dismissing an employee, and to follow a fair process. The LRA sets out a number of automatically unfair reasons for dismissal, including dismissals based on an employee’s race, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, trade union membership, or for participating in protected strikes. Employers are also prohibited from dismissing an employee for taking action to enforce their rights under the LRA or other employment laws.

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