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Mon - Fri 09:00-17:00

Disciplinary Hearings and Enquiries

Initiators Guide

The primary object of this Disciplinary Hearing course is to impart the knowledge and skill, gained over more than two decades, that the facilitator has acquired as an arbitrator at CCMA/Bargaining Council and in her private capacity doing disciplinary hearings.  As an arbitrator, one gains the insight into what evidence is relevant and crucial.  Hence sound training of an initiator would be beneficial in presenting reliable and relevant evidence, resulting in favourable decisions.

The course will address frequently asked questions such as:

  • What gives rise to discipline in the workplace?
  • When do you invoke informal procedures prior to taking formal action?
  • What are the different types of dismissals?
  • What are the different types of sanctions?
  • How do you draft charges or allegations?
  • How do you prepare for a hearing?
Disciplinary Hearing

Who should attend?

  • HR Personnel
  • Management

Training Outline

Understanding the LRA

  • History of labour relations in South Africa
  • Understanding social justice, natural justice and common law
  • The relevance and importance of case law

The co-dependency relationship

  • Mutual respect
  • Why does the organisation exist?
  • What is the holistic meaning of the employment relationship?

What gives rise to discipline in the workplace

  • Contract of employment
  • Common law
  • Internal policies and procedures
  • Ad hoc rules
  • National laws
  • International laws
  • Labour Relations Act

When to invoke informal procedures prior to taking formal action

  • What steps to follow?
  • Dealing with the employee/s with sensitivity and compassion
  • Alleged sexual harassment cases
  • Sensitive incapacity and ill health issues

Types of dismissals

  • Automatically unfair dismissals
  • Distinguishing dismissals: Misconduct vs Poor work performance
  • HIV/Aids
  • Dismissals for incapacity- Ill-health /injury
  • Dismissals after strike action: lawful, unlawful
  • Misconduct dismissals
  • Dismissals based on operational requirements
  • Constructive dismissal

 Types of sanctions

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

Drafting charges/allegations

  • Do not over complicate charges
  • Clearly refer to actual incidents and dates
  • Decriminalise charges
  • Compounding of charges
  • Including charges that the alleged offender has been disciplined for in the past

(worksheet for participants to complete in class.  Suggested answers provided)

Understanding evidence:       

  • Relevance
  • Admissibility
  • Hearsay
  • Oral evidence
  • Real evidence
  • Admissions
  • Inspections in loco

Pre-hearing/enquiry procedures

  • Understanding the need for a hearing or an enquiry
  • When to involve the union when disciplinary action is being taken against an employee?
  • Discussion with alleged offender
  • Obtaining statement from alleged offender
  • Investigations and gathering evidence
  • Decision to take formal or informal route
  • Application of internal policies and procedures
  • Code of Good practice
  • Consistency
  • Obtaining statements from witnesses
  • Securing the services of a chairperson
  • Formulation and drafting charges
  • When to suspend an employee facing disciplinary action?

Service of notice of hearing /enquiry on the employee

  • How to service notice?
  • When to serve notice?
  • Managing an employee/alleged offender who refuses to accept service

Preparing for the disciplinary hearing/enquiry

  • Preparing documentary evidence
  • Alleged offender/employee’s disciplinary record
  • Preparing real evidence
  • Dealing with the logistics of an inspection in loco
  • Dealing with queries and witnesses of the alleged offender
  • Securing the venue
  • Arranging minute taking / recording equipment
  • Attendance registers

The disciplinary hearing/enquiry

  • Burden of proof/duty to begin
  • Raising points in limine
  • Opening statements
  • Presenting evidence
  • Cross-examination
  • Re-examination
  • Closing statements
  • Chairpersons verdict
  • Aggravation and mitigation if found guilty
  • Establishing the date of final outcome from the chairperson

Post disciplinary hearing/enquiry

  • Obtaining consent from employee/alleged offender for a sanction short of dismissal
  • Communicating the sanction to the employee/alleged offender
  • Arranging for final statutory monies
  • Communicating pension/provident fund payments
  • Issuing final letter of dismissal
  • Issuing of certificate of service and UI19
  • Communicating and managing the logistics of the employee’s exit from the premises
  • Assisting with appeals process and/or referral to CCMA/Bargaining Council

Day will end with a role play


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