You are Fired!

If you have practised human resource management, you have probably worked with a boss who has at one point told you ‘I need so and so fired immediately’.

Any reasonable and properly trained HR Practitioner knows that you cannot do that. It is one thing to want to impress the boss and it’s another to do so while still upholding the law. A HRM must be smart. And that’s why the Employment Act 2007 is a HRP’s bible.

An employee can separate from an employer in different ways: through summary dismissal, termination, resignation, death, retirement or redundancy. Summary Dismissal is a punishment on grounds of gross misconduct and you cannot claim notice pay from your employer.

However, an employee is entitled to a fair hearing before dismissal takes place regardless of the offence. An employee must first be issued with a Show Cause Why letter outlining the nature of the offense with very clear time lines on when the response is required. Upon receiving a response from him or her, a formal disciplinary hearing must be conducted in the presence of a Shop Steward (in case of Unionized employee) or a representative of an employee’s choosing. You may choose a representative for the employee if by any chance they cannot find either of the above.

A decision is thereafter made on whether to dismiss or warn the employee. Then there is the issue of Double Punishment; this is when you punish an employee twice for the same offence, for instance, summary dismissal and a surcharge. Most privately owned companies do this in order to avoid incurring losses, however, it is still against the law.

So the next time you say to someone, ‘you are fired!’ be sure that you are not Donald Trump, you are not on the ‘Apprentice Show’ and a fair hearing has been conducted for the employee. We all deserve a fair hearing.


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