email: caroline @
Telephone: 011 792 8824 / 084 413 3436
If you are presenting your case at the CCMA or at a hearing it is very important to understand and know the relevant legal issues. Then you know what are the relevant documents or evidence to collect and the relevant questions to ask your witnesses.
Often I see applicants or dismissed employees who want to represent themselves at the CCMA but they have no understanding of the relevant legal issues. For example, I was acting for a company in a constructive dismissal case and the applicant was an engineer who had prepared thoroughly with documents and evidence but he had no clue as to what were the relevant legal issues. Thus, although he presented his version clearly and thoroughly what he presented was irrelevant and not going to help him win .In fact, he had no case as he did not understand what constructive dismissal entails. Thus, he lost his case and the company won.
Do not make this mistake. Ensure you know the legal issues .At the CCMA proving unfair dismissal means showing that on a balance of probabilities your dismissal was either procedurally and or substantively unfair. Procedural unfairness means no proper procedure was followed such as no hearing or no opportunity to be heard by the company regarding their allegations of misconduct or incapacity.
Substantive unfairness means that the company did not have a proper reason to dismiss you .For example, a misconduct dismissal means you must have known of a company rule that you broke or incapacity dismissal for poor performance means you were aware of what was expected but could not meet the standard required. If the company did not have clear rules and did not inform you of them it would be unfair to have dismissed for misconduct. Also, it would be unfair to dismiss for poor performance if the company did not counsel you as to what was expected and give you time and opportunity to improve or if there were external factors beyond your control affecting your performance such as you not receiving info from another department which prevented you from performing.
Essentially ensure you understand the merits of your case and what you need to prove!!
Written by Caroline White B.A. LLB