Employers Beware (Disciplinary Hearings)

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When Your Employee Quits During A Disciplinary Hearing

If you are an employer who has had the unfortunate need to hold a disciplinary hearing with a staff member you may wonder what to do when they quit during the hearing (with immediate effect).

A recent court case has now given clarity on whether you should go ahead with the hearing or not.

The case involved an employee the when faced with an upcoming disciplinary hearing was worried she would be fired. She then quickly handed in her resignation to make sure the hearing wouldn’t have to happen.

The company later informed her that the disciplinary hearing was still going to go forward before she finished her notice period. She then handed in a second resignation this time with immediate effect.

‘there was then some debate about whether the company should still go ahead and hold a disciplinary hearing’

As you can imagine there was then some debate about whether the company should still go ahead and hold a disciplinary hearing. This is not the first time such matters have been debated even before the courts which is where this matter eventually ended up.

What The Courts Say

When the matter later went to Labour Court a ruling was given that once a consumer no longer works for the company (in this case the employee quit with immediate effect) then the former employer has no jurisdiction over them and a disciplinary hearing can no longer take place.

Another recent case involving two workers who faced a similar situation. In this case, the employer told the two employees that their resignations were rejected because they first wanted to hold a disciplinary hearing and they had to work out their notice period. This was also later ruled to be wrong unless the employer had specifically gone to court to try to force them to work out a notice period. Since they had resigned with immediate effect they no longer worked for the company and the company could not hold any disciplinary hearings.

Keep this in mind when you are faced with a similar situation at work and be careful of overstepping the mark. If needs be, talk to an attorney in regard to such matters as over time new court cases may provide greater clarity on what can and can’t happen in such a situation.


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