The Labour Court has recently ruled that dismissal on the basis of mental illness or mental incapacity is automatically unfair.
This includes depression, anxiety, burnout or stress, explains labour specialist Natasha Moni.
In the case, Ockert Jansen v Legal Aid South Africa, the employee was on medication and suffering from depression.
He faced disciplinary action for work absenteeism and was dismissed for misconduct.
However, the Labour Court ruled that the employer should have instituted an inquiry into incapacity rather than misconduct.
The court ordered retrospective reinstatement, meaning that the complainant will receive almost five years’ back-pay.
Employers must be careful when dealing with disciplinary issues that could be related to mental illness, Moni advises.
The Labour Court has now acknowledged that it would be automatically unfair, and part and parcel of unfair discrimination, should you be dismissed for a mental illness or mental incapacity.— Natasha Moni, labour specialist, Director at Moni Attorneys Incorporated, Acting judge at CCMA
But for his mental illness, he would not have been dismissed.— Natasha Moni, labour specialist, Director at Moni Attorneys Incorporated, Acting judge at CCMA
Read more on the Labour Court ruling here.
The Labour Court has also allowed employers to further informalise disciplinary inquiries, Moni adds.
She explains the latest case law developments in the Labour Court and answers questions from callers.
Take a listen to the World Of Work open line:
World of Work: labour specialist and director at Moni Attorneys @fablabourlawyer is as helpful as she allways is. Call in if you need help with a labour matter.@Radio702 @CapeTalk pic.twitter.com/sRAoM5I4JT— Eusebius McKaiser (@Eusebius) July 4, 2018