Dismissal of Senior Manager for Gross Insubordination Confirmed by the Labour Appeal Court
Our client dismissed an employee, a senior manager with a legal background, for gross insubordination during 2013.
The Labour Appeal Court recently upheld our client’s appeal that the dismissal was substantively fair, that the employee misconducted himself by failing to obey a lawful and reasonable instruction and that the employee’s actions, besides being insubordinate, reveal a poor level of judgment supporting the conclusion that the employee was not suited to the post he occupied.
Some of the aspects touched on by the Labour Appeal Court in its judgement are matters which are pertinent in all employment relationships, for example, that there was no need for any explicit policy or regulation on which to base a request for a meeting and that the right or prerogative of management to request a meeting to discuss performance is self-evidently inherent in every employment relationship; that employees who allege tacit racism should do so only on the basis of persuasive objective information leading to a compelling and legitimate inference, and in accordance with grievance procedures established for that purpose; that unfounded allegations of racism against a superior by a subordinate subjected to disciplinary action or performance assessment, referred to colloquially as “playing the race card”, can illegitimately undermine the authority of the superior and damage harmonious relations in the workplace and that the idea that a senior manager with legal training should be permitted to take run of the mill workplace grievances to the Public Protector, Parliament and to the Minister is difficult to sustain.
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