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Chairing Disciplinary Hearings and Enquiries

Training and Development

It is imperative for employers and employees to have a good understanding of the laws governing employment relationships.  It is the employer’s prerogative to manage discipline in the workplace.  In order for employers to be fully compliant with legislation, due process must be adhered to.  A chairperson’s role in complying with labour laws, would require strict adherence to procedural fairness.  This is a comprehensive guide to assist chairpersons in fulfilling this legal obligation. 

The course is interactive and fun.  Use of real-life cases and incidents make the session vibrant and interesting.

The course will address frequently asked questions such as:

  • What are the different types of dismissals?
  • What are the requirements of the Labour Relations Act?
  • What are the conduct requirements of the chairperson?
  • What are possible sanctions?
  • Which steps should be followed by the chairperson?
Disciplinary Hearing training by The Mindspa Institute

Who should attend?

  • HR Personnel
  • Management

Disciplinary Hearing Training Outline

The reason for managing discipline in the workplace

  • Protecting the rights and obligations of employer and employees
  • Breaching contractual obligations
  • Required by the Labour Relations Act
  • Workplace standards
  • Encourages a conducive working environment

Types of dismissal

  • Dismissal for misconduct
  • Dismissal based on operational requirements
  • Dismissal for incapacity – ill health
  • Dismissal for incapacity – poor work performance
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Automatically unfair dismissals

Possible sanctions to consider in the disciplinary hearing

  • Verbal warning
  • Written warning
  • Final written warning
  • Suspension without pay
  • Demotion
  • Transfer to another department
  • Unpaid extended leave
  • Summary Dismissal
  • Dismissal with notice

Conduct and requirements of the chairperson

  • Suitably trained and qualified
  • No prior knowledge of the incidents leading up to the disciplinary hearing/enquiry
  • Good knowledge of the law and procedures to be followed
  • Must remain neutral at all times
  • Cannot cross-examine witnesses on behalf of parties but may ask questions for clarity
  • Capable to taking notes
  • Must understand evidence ie real evidence, hearsay etc
  • Must be experienced in weighing up the evidence
  • Have a good knowledge of report writing
  • Familiar with the employer’s policies and procedures and disciplinary code of conduct
  • Able to justify and give comprehensive reasons for recommending the sanction
  • Must have a strong understanding of the concept consistency

Bias and the perception of bias

  • The chairperson is an employee of the company
  • The chairperson is known to the employer/alleged offender
  • The chairperson has chaired other hearings for the employer
  • The chairperson has had some involvement with the steps leading up to the hearing/enquiry
  • The employer has secured the services of an external chairperson and is responsible for payment

Steps to be followed by the Chair during the disciplinary hearing

  • Greet and welcome all present
  • Introduce yourself and parties before you
  • State the purpose of the hearing/enquiry
  • Explain the procedure to be followed
  • Ask the employee/alleged offender if he/she understands his/her rights as explained in the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing/Enquiry. If the answer is in the negative, go through the rights:
  • Right to reasonable notice of the hearing/enquiry
  • Right to a representative
  • Right to an interpreter
  • Right to call witnesses
  • Right to access to bundles of documents
  • Deal with preliminary points
  • Set ground rules
  • Read out charges and ask alleged offender to plead
  • Collect evidence from parties in the form of real evidence, oral evidence, documentary evidence
  • Listen to witness testimony
  • Allow for cross-examination, re-examination
  • Look at disciplinary record/code of conduct/policies and procedures/disciplinary code
  • Closing statements
  • Take time to decide on verdict
  • Mitigation and aggravation
  • Recommend sanction with final outcome report

Sanction short of dismissal

  • When to recommend
  • Consent required
  • Reasons for the recommendation
  • How does the chairperson include a sanction short of dismissal in final report?

The day will end with a comprehensive role play.  The pack will include a checklist for chairpersons


Additional Information

Course Duration: 2 Days

Presented : In-house and online



  • Comprehensive manual
  • Framed certificate of attendance
  • Notepad & Pen
  • Superior training venue with delicious lunch, teas and refreshments

Contact us for more information