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14/09/2018

David White - An Aid for Disciplinary Hearings

Hearing Aid is a one stop shop that offers the services of qualified, independent chairpersons for disciplinary hearings. These professional services are available through DRG Outsourcing and Colin Heads & Associates.

South African labour legislation is one of the most advanced and fair human capital management structures in the world, ensuring that the workforce is dealt with in a responsible and caring manner.

Consequently, employers need to understand what their obligations to their employees comprise.

"The true intention of human resources best-practices is to help companies improve relationships with staff through encouraging employee engagement in the workplace and improving company outputs/productivity. If bestpractice is followed through the proper training of line managers, suitable inductions of staff, clarity of roles, responsibilities, policies and procedures, etc, then very few conflict matters should arise," says David White CEO DRG Outsourcing.

However, legislation can seem particularly complicated when it comes to sensitive matters such as hearings, retrenchments, performance management initiatives, HR/IR training, etc.

This is especially relevant to disciplinary hearings. The goal of a disciplinary hearing is to ensure that all parties are given the opportunity to state their case, that the correct procedure is followed to determine whether an employee is guilty of any alleged misconduct and, if so, that the appropriate course of action is recommended.

One of the key role players in a disciplinary hearing is the chairperson, who is responsible for ensuring that the hearing is held correctly, in compliance with all labour laws and procedures.

"Consequently, the selection of a chairperson is a critical element in the success or failure of the disciplinary process. The quality of the person chairing a hearing may result in the risk of an unfair outcome," says Colin Heads who has had many years of experience as an employment relations practitioner.

Through Hearing Aid, DRG Outsourcing & Colin Heads & Associates aims to assist employers with selecting competent and efficient chairpersons for disciplinary hearings.

A range of chairpersons with high levels of experience and appropriate qualifications are available, many of whom have been through hundreds of disciplinary hearings. In addition, the appointment of a chairperson for a hearing is made based on the style and personality of the chairperson and their fit with the culture of the organisation and the situation at hand.

An independent chairperson ensures that any potential for an internally appointed chairperson who is biased, subject to political interference, or lacking in competence is avoided.

The chairperson must make recommendations based solely on the evidence provided at disciplinary hearing and be equipped to assess mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

This ensures that both sides of the issue may be presented equitably so that both the employee and the employer will be given a fair outcome for a given matter.

Employers often overlook the value of ensuring that an independent chairperson i.e. one who is not emotionally invested in the company, is appointed to manage a formal disciplinary hearing.

In addition, an independent chairperson has the benefit of not being prejudiced by having any workplace relationship with an employee. This is especially relevant when considering the possible consequences of the disciplinary hearing for both the employee and the employer.

"An external chairperson will make sure that he/she does it right," says Heads.

South Africa's diverse workforce often requires that the employee may require the assistance of a translator for the disciplinary hearing. Hearing Aid is also able to provide suitable (independent) translators. The use of translators is a legal requirement and it is equally important to appoint a truly independent and competent person to this role.

"DRG Outsourcing and Colin Heads & Associates are on standby to help as and when required," concluded White.

For more information contact
Iviwe Mtebele
T: 031 7670625
E: iviwe@drg.co.za

 An Aid for Disciplinary Hearings.JPG
 An Aid for Disciplinary Hearings.pdf


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