Section 188 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, as amended provides that, to be fair, a dismissal that is not automatically unfair must be for a fair reason and in accordance with a fair procedure. The Mediation and Dispute Settlement Centre provides an independent, suitably qualified, chairperson to chair disciplinary hearings ensuring impartiality and timeous outcome of proceedings.
Employees facing disciplinary hearings are entitled to many rights including that of the proper opportunity to prepare for the hearing in advance, the right to defend themselves against the charges brought and the right to fair labour practice.
On the other hand, employees who are guilty of misconduct cannot escape disciplinary action when the employer exercises its discretion.
Grogan in Workplace Law (7 ed) at 177 states:
“…the officer presiding at a disciplinary hearing must not only be impartial in fact, but also that there should be no grounds for even suspecting that his or her decision might be shaped by extraneous factors, even if this is in fact not actually the case”.