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Thread: Unfair dismissal???

  1. #1
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    Unfair dismissal???

    Good Day

    I was dismissed on Monday past. I worked for a IT company and was outsourced to a client of theirs. I was employed on a fixed term contract.
    I started on the 17 June 2008 and would off expired on the 31 January 2009.

    Still very shocked at this point in time.
    Realistically i really dont think it was a fair trial and to be dismissed. Just because i wanted to be fairly and equally treated at my work place.

    I do apologize for the length of my writing.
    Just wanted to share my story with you guys.

    While it is still fresh in mind. This is what happened

    I was hereby summoned with this Notice on the 24 November 2008.


    Employee : Taswell Strydom

    Offence : Misconduct

    Date and time of hearing : 26 November 2008, 08:00

    Place : XXXXXXXXXX
    Cape Town, Boardroom

    Chairperson : XXXXXXXXXX

    Line management representatives : XXXXXXX , XXXXXXX

    Details regarding offence:

    Not executing reasonable instructions from your site manager

    Unbecoming conduct:
    Presenting unprofessional behaviour towards fellow staff members

    Failed to meet basic requirements of working hours

    You will be on further immediate suspension with full pay pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.

    Please note that you are entitled to representation, but only by fellow XXXXXXXXX employee(s) of your choice.

    You may call witnesses in support of your defense.

    I, ______________________________ hereby acknowledge receipt of the above letter and have understood the contents thereof.

    Signed: ______________________________

    Date: ______________________________

    I attended the the hearing and told the chairperson that i had no time to prepare for the hearing. So she decided to give me 2 days to prepare for the hearing. Adjourned to the 28 November 2008. The next i called the the HR person who handed me the Notice to please furnish more details.
    As you can notice. There are no Dates , Times or locations of when this happened. This is what she told me. " The line manager is presenting the case. Therefore no further information was given. Disciplinary hearings allow for these to be discussed" The line manager is also the Applicant. I had no leg to stand on but had no choice to attend the hearing. Friday came i explained to the chairperson before the proceedings began. That i had requested more detailed information because there was no dates nor times and locations on when i allegedly committed this offenses. Therefore i could not properly defend myself and answer question properly. It was dismissed and agreed by her to start the proceedings. I never even had a witness with me or even evidence to defend myself. I plead not guilty to all charges.

    1. Insubordination
    Not executing reasonable instructions from your site manager

    The Applicant " Repeated late coming to work and not notifying him
    that i was going to be late for work."

    The Chairperson said she would like the applicant to rather address that
    as absenteeism and would later address it as there was already a charge
    of late coming. He agreed. So he ill iterated on the notifying of late
    coming. I told the chairperson that i was not told to whom i should
    notify. Which was the truth. I then told that because i work night shift i
    assumed that should notify the person whom i am releaving. The applicant
    produced a automated time sheet. Which contained entered and exit
    times with dates. All the days of offenses were highlighted. The time
    sheet the applicant produced as evidence had problems but not told by
    the applicant to the chairperson. " As you can Ms Chairperson there are
    repeated times that Taswell would come late to work and you can also
    see that at times he would abandon his shift. This is a single resource
    shift and is very important. I think its pure negligence and he clearly has
    no respect for the client we are serving. Therefore i think its a clear act
    of insubordination." So i told the chairperson that i would like to dispute.
    The problem was that times were not making sense on the attendance
    logs. I never was given chance to have further look at it.
    The applicant would like just speak on when it was not even done looking
    at the evidence. Applicant " Elrick who Taswell re leaves has for months
    been standing in for Taswell`s late coming and told him on many
    occasions that he is fed up with this behavior and told me to stop doing.
    it. I therefore also think its also an act of insubordination because i he
    took advantage of his fellow work colleague." The attendance log spans
    for more than 4 months and i asked the chairperson where is the
    applicants witness to testify because what he is saying is hearsay
    because he never told me such a thing. It was dismissed.
    Applicant " Therefore the client wanted Taswell removed from the
    site because they could not stand such behavior. Miss Chairperson i have
    no evidence of there testimony but the client did tell me this. Another
    case of insubordination plus a case of unbecoming conduct Miss

    2. Next Charge

    Unbecoming conduct:
    Presenting unprofessional behavior towards fellow staff members

    Applicant " Miss Chairperson when i phoned Taswell on the 13 November
    2008 about 23:30pm. Reason because i received a phone call from Elrick stating that Taswell just phoned him to tell that he is not coming into
    work because he was sick. I spoke to Taswell and he was very hostile and
    defensive. His behavior over the phone was intolerable. Miss chairperson
    could i please ask your assistant to give evidence." The Chairperson
    accepted his request. Assistant Hr: " On Monday the 24 November 2008
    Taswell was called in by the Outsource Manager. When questioned
    his behavior was sort of aggressive. He was shouting and Screaming and
    we had to stop questioning him on several occasions because of his
    behavior. The Outsource Manager almost left the boardroom because
    of this." Madam Chairperson can i dispute that please. I asked her.
    I shall begin with the statement that the applicant spoke about. The
    applicant telephoned and this is how the conversation went. Applicant: "
    Hi Taswell i here from Elrick that you are not coming in." Me: " I am not
    feeling well at all it feels like the flu." Applicant:" Taswell!!! how long do
    you know that you have the flu." Me: " I woke up early i was not feeling
    well" Applicant : " Laughs" I find that hard to believe. Me: " Why are
    laughing at me." Applicant: " Taswell there is always something
    happening to you and really now i should believe this now. Me: " Ok i will
    bring a sick certificate tomorrow then you can see what is wrong with
    me. Applicant: " Anyway can bring a sick certificate Taswell. Me: " So
    What are you calling me a liar." This was the conversation Madam
    Chairperson and yes i became angry. I think i had every right to defend
    myself. He thought i was lying and plus he makes a fool out of me by
    laughing. Monday was exactly the same. The way the Outsource Manager
    questioned me and may add Ms Chairperson the applicant has clearly advantage because the applicant is related to the Outsource Manager. She asked so Taswell what do you think you really her for. Miss Chairperson , Seriously i did not why i was called in. The only thing i could think was about the argument me and the "Applicant" had on the telephone.
    Then she told me " look her i dont have time to play games here. Your
    behavior is not good for this company and client and that its making a
    instability amongst your work colleagues and it is also filtering through to
    the client. So therefore i think its best to take you out there and if you were
    unhappy why do you still want to work there." Firstly Miss Chairperson
    at this point i dont know what she was talking about and
    secondly the manner she spoke to me was as if i was a child.
    i clearly knew what was going on and I told her that this must of all started when me and the applicant had indifference. He did not like me questioning him about the incident involving a work colleague that was under the influence of alcohol. I had in full confidence that he would of demonstrated fair judgment according to what happened. We were short staffed because of what happened. The following day a sat at my desk and overheard the
    employee " who committed the offense" and a work colleague speaking
    about the matter like there would be no real big consequence. I was not happy about it and i responded to the " Applicants" e-mail. After the response everything just went pear shaped. I to spoke about the problems the night staff have. We feeling a bit neglected and worthless at times. The permanent staff has meetings where they can talk about there issues. We never even had a one on one with the " Applicant" or any sort of means to express our unhappiness and concerns. He was to unhappy about that as well. Then Outsource Manager told me " Ok Taswell all i just heard was about your unhappiness coupled with your shouting. Do you need help. Where does this aggression come from." I was not shouting Miss Chairperson. I am emotional person and cannot help it when i get excited. I just speak a bit louder. I dont think it is fair to be judged on that.


    I will stop here. Its quite lengthy after this. The Absenteeism
    which was already spoken about but used in another context

    After the proceedings the chairperson allowed me to give evidence in my
    defense which i immediately did. This included my sick certificate , two
    e-mails containing appraisals from the client i worked at and phone bill
    records of confirmation that i notified my Team Leader on the day i was
    sick. Because I did not have a witness. I wrote a letter with in regards to
    the proceedings. I had it signed by the Hr Coordinator.

    I went through the proceedings minutes which include the applicants
    evidence. By the real shock of horror. The attendance log that was
    submitted for evidence for my late coming had to many inconsistencies.
    My entered and exit times. The shift i worked was 12:30am to 7:00am.
    on a rotated day schedule. The records would indicated that my entered
    times would be in times when my shift never or days never worked.
    The system would record me attending work for 0:00. for other days which I said I was absent for. It an entry so why does it not indicate for the other days that’s in the timesheet. 21:45 hours attended which of it would of clashed with my shift . On more then ten accounts. Times that would indicate I would of worked with the person I was supposed to of relieved. I truly think the complainant knew this but still produce the inconsistent attendance log to get rid of me.

    The termination letter had to inconsistencies. The Chairperson mentioned nothing about the medical certificate I sent. I told the Chairperson that phoned the person I was relieving but she indicated that I telephoned him. The cell phone bill was my wife’s.
    My work colleague on numerous occasions complained to management about my behavior. I never ever received a warning letter for my late coming.
    What I cannot understand is that neither the complainant or the Hr Coordinate disputed the matter in regards to about the manner in which the Complainant and Outsource Manager they spoke to me.

    Truly believe this was a personal thing towards me. The applicant gave false
    information and still got away with it. I feel victimized and discriminated in every way.

    Here is ftp link that contains all the original scanned copies of the hearing and
    termination letter.
    The company`s name and employees are furnished with this document.
    So I put a password on rar file. For confidentially purposes.
    I would really appreciated it if anyone could give there opinion in regards to this . Just indicate in the post for the pass and I will send it to your PM.

    I will admit that I could been wrong in some thing’s.
    But this really I cannot explain it.
    I would like to ask a question. Can they change/add the notice of disciplinary hearing letterhead. I noticed they added the Hr coordinator in my termination letter where she was not included in the notice letter and was it possible for her to testify against me.
    I would really appreciate anyone`s advice.

    It will be much appreciated

    Thanks for reading.


    Taswell Strydom
    Last edited by Taswell Strydom; 06-Dec-08 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Spacing

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Hopefully a real labour guru will pick the bones on this, but I've got a couple of questions:

    What was the reason for your dismissal? (ie. what were you found guilty of).
    Was this your first disciplinary hearing?
    Had you received previous warnings?

  3. #3
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    Apparently i broke the trust relationship between the client and me.
    Insubordination?????? I dont know

    The Complainant says that the client spoke to him in regards to the attendance sheet. The attendance sheet is inconsistent. I dont think they did.
    They would of picked it. There was no written testimonial given or any evidence given to indicate that the client said this.
    Also the Automated T & A system is on trial at the client.

    Yes this was my first disciplinary hearing.

    I never received any warning letters


    Taswell Strydom

  4. #4
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taswell Strydom View Post
    Apparently i broke the trust relationship between the client and me.
    I had a sneaking suspicion that was the core of the problem. Your employer's problem is that when the client asks for you to get removed/replaced, your employer didn't have much of a choice but to comply. It's why companies outsource - they don't have to sweat the labour regs side of things.

    From there your employer faces a decision as to whether to place you elsewhere for the balance of your contract, have you sitting around until the contract runs out, or ease you off the payroll immediately on a serious charge that allows immediate dismissal.

    None of that really deals with your legal position - it's just an observation of the forces in play. The world can be pretty rough at times.

    It sounds like it could be a labour broker scenario and I'm definitely out of my depth there. Let's see if a labour guru has something to say, but it tends to be quiet here on the weekend, so you might have to wait a bit for a response.

  5. #5
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    That is what i was thinking.

    The problem here is that there was no real proof given.
    About the Client wanting me off the site. Only Hearsay Evidence
    with a inconsistent attendance log given as evidence.

    This is the only proof i have that might proof my case.
    That the complainant was dishonest with his statement and the client might not of said anything. Further more the question that was asked." Was there any impact to the client" The answer was no.

    I asked if i could Appeal the matter and was told by the Hr coordinator that i should go to the CCMA. The Chairperson was not present at the judgment proceedings.

    Anyway i hope get some help and do understand its weekend.

    Just frustrated about this whole matter.
    Last edited by Taswell Strydom; 06-Dec-08 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Addition

  6. #6
    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    I don't know labour law to advise you on this.
    But that aside would you employ yourself in a similar position?
    Are there other contracts you could work on?
    A brief reading of this seems that your employer and the client where not happy with you or your work. Is this the case?
    I don't want to dump on you when you are down but most companies do there damndest to keep their best employees.
    Maybe this is something to consider for the future.
    Last edited by IanF; 07-Dec-08 at 02:31 PM. Reason: spelling
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

  7. #7
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    Hi Ian

    The problem with the whole saga is that there is no proof of the client i worked
    for. Saying that they were unhappy.
    As to i submitted evidence to the chairperson of the client praising me about my great work.
    The complainant only submitted evidence of a inconsistent attendance sheet.
    Which the client would not of done as they would of picked up the errors.
    The chairperson relied on hearsay evidence.
    What makes it more frustrating for me is that.
    The complainant told the chairperson that the client told him that they were unhappy with me on the first occasion when i was apparently absent on the 6 August 2008. The attendance sheet captured an entry of 0:00 total time attended. It captured an entry so which means i was there. Then he changed his statement telling the client told him this on the second occasion when i was absent on the 13 November 2008. This is when i produce my sick certificate but this was dismissed by the chairperson.The attendance sheet shows no entries for that day. Do you see the problem?

    That what makes it suspicious

    We were about five guys that were on a contractual basis.
    I was the second last to join.
    Two months working there i was ahead of all four guys including an permanent worker
    and two was commended for the excellent work. The clash happened between me and the permanent worker that he i was ahead off. the employee that arrived drunk at work.

    Ian as i have gathered. You have to lick you know what to stay there. At my employers and not the client as they have a better working policy there.
    I believe fairness not by buying face.
    Last edited by Taswell Strydom; 07-Dec-08 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Addition

  8. #8
    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    This does sound unfair, but I am not an expert.
    But for your own peace of mind you should look to the future. If you got your job back would you accept it?

    You must look to the future now in a positive frame of mind. Don't look at this as what is fair but rather how can you use this to grow in a positive way.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

  9. #9
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    The difficulty here is that.
    I do have a family to support and many things
    It was taking away from me unfairly.
    And yes i know i need to look forward which i am doing already.
    The issue is... References and why did they terminate your contract.
    Is He or is Is he not reliable.
    Cant have a bad reference where it was not my fault.
    I would still need to prove my case to have my name cleared.

    It has been asked by the recruitment agencies already.
    So technically i am still screwed

    Yes i want my Job back. As i said the client has a better working policy.
    If it does come to that it would mean a lot of complications.
    If the client would find out what really happened. My employer would have to come up with a dishonest thing to keep me away.
    Its a huge account so they would have to pull out all the stops.
    Last edited by Taswell Strydom; 07-Dec-08 at 07:11 PM.

  10. #10
    Silver Member Vincent's Avatar
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    Hi Taswell,
    I agree with Ian, you need to look to the future, but I understand this can be traumatising and it does affect your work record.

    I'm no labour lawyer/consultant, but I had something similar happen to me a couple of years ago. After I was dismissed, which I felt was unfairly, I took the company to the CCMA. This is your only recourse now and there are two ways you can do it.
    1. You can do it through a labour lawyer or a consultant
    2. Do it yourself.
    And obviously, you have the third option of just accepting the outcome. (not the best solution)

    I used option two. I did this because, while I was looking for work, it kept me very busy and I believed that I could do it myself. And like you, I wanted a clean slate, when applying for work. This to me was important.

    Doing it yourself though, can be nerve racking, stressful and quite daunting, but if you've prepared properly with all the facts, backed up by evidence and you win, it can be exhilarating. Also there is a lot of procedure that needs to be followed, which can put one off.

    After three months, my case was heard and I won. I was well compensated, and the company was not allowed to say that I was dismissed, but rather I was retrenched. ( I got a letter to this effect).

    Although I can't advise you what the best course of action is, there is no need to take it lying down, especially if you feel you have been done by.

    Let's hear what the labour experts have to say.
    Vincent Marino
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