A disciplinary hearing procedure for employees usually arises due to gross misconduct in the workplace, this can range from a variety of things, such as absenteeism, lateness, gross dishonesty, negligence, insubordination, and coming to work under the influence. The term disciplinary hearing can be explained as a meeting between two or more people; usually an employer and an employee. The meeting is conducted when an employee is subjected to allegations of misconduct in the workplace.

A disciplinary hearing procedure for employees serves as a measure to ensure that there is substantive evidence for dismissal of the employee and to make sure that fair procedure is followed. Below is how a disciplinary hearing procedure for employees is conducted.

Notice to attend a disciplinary hearing


A Notice to attend a disciplinary hearing has to be given to the employee by the employer before the disciplinary hearing takes place. During the disciplinary hearing, the employee’s misconduct must be presented in a form of facts and merits, the employee is then allowed to defend themselves against the claims through witnesses, leading evidence and cross-examinations. The Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 called the Code of Good Practice: Dismissal overheads this process.

Procedure to follow for a disciplinary hearing

Notice of enquiry

To start the process of the disciplinary enquiry, a notice of enquiry is given to the employee, this is to notify you that you are to attend a disciplinary hearing. Five days’ notice must be given to the employee before the hearing. A receipt of the notice must be given to the employee to sign, a witness can be present if the employee refuses to sign the receipt and sign a confirmation letter stating that the notice was passed on to the employee subjected to a disciplinary hearing.

The notice of enquiry must include the following: A detailed description of the employee’s indiscretions and acquired evidence by the employer. It must include the place, venue and time of the hearing; the employee’s rights, such as the right to representation and the right to include their own witnesses at the hearing. The employee can either be represented by another employee or a trade union. During the hearing, the employee may also require an Interpreter.

Conducting the disciplinary hearing


The disciplinary hearing procedure for the employee will take place within ten days after the notice has been given. The hearing’s chairperson must be an employee in a higher position than the employer’s representative. The presiding officer must be an executing authority or another person with the necessary competence chosen by the Cabinet or the Provincial Executive Committee if the accused employee is the head of the department. An Interpreter may be present if required.

No legal representative may be used by either the employer or the employee unless either of them is a lawyer. If the employee chooses not to show up for the hearing and the chair determines that the person does not have a good excuse, the hearing may go forward without the employee. The proceedings of the meeting and notice of the disciplinary hearing must be recorded by the chair. To start the hearing the notice for the record must be read by the chair.

The employer’s representative will provide the opening statement regarding the actions that prompted the hearing. Any witness called by the employer’s representative may be questioned by the employee or the employee’s representation. The same process will be followed by the employee’s representative. To gain clarity on certain statements the chair may ask any witnesses questions. If the employee is found guilty, the chair must then explain to the employee using the findings and facts from the evidence gathered that misconduct has been committed.

The employee must be given the chance to present any mitigating circumstances before the chair decides on a sentence. Additionally, the employer’s representative may mention aggravating circumstances. Within five working days of the disciplinary inquiry’s conclusion, the chair must inform the employee of the hearing’s final result, and the result must be documented in the employee’s record.

The order of process during the hearing

Disciplinary Hearing Procedure For Employees - South Africa

The following is the order of process during a disciplinary hearing procedure for employees. The hearing consists of the chair, who is an employer in the organisation and someone of higher standing than the employer and employee. The complainant (employer), the respondent (employee), the employee’s representative, the employer’s representative, the witnesses, and the interpreter are also part of the hearing.

The Chairperson is the one that opens the hearing by introducing themselves and explaining their role in the proceedings. The Chair must then conclude their introduction by stating that they have no knowledge whatsoever of the case and that they do not know the outcome either. The chair would then introduce each participant to one another, state their role and open the space for the proceedings to start.

The opening statements by employer’s and employee’s representatives will then be delivered. The opening statements are a short outline detailing the case of each party. There is no need for opening statements, the hearing can continue without them. However, the opening statements give the chairperson a clear and detailed understanding of the case.

After the opening statements, the chair then explains the purpose of the hearing and asks the employee if they understand the charges set against them and whether they plead guilty or not guilty. The employee’s answer is recorded. The employee is then asked if they were given a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing and if they were afforded time to prepare. Their answer is once more recorded. The complainant is then asked to state their case, where their witnesses will be called to state their evidence. The respondent then responds by raising points against the complainant’s evidence, cross-examines the complainant’s witnesses, and provide witnesses of their own; who will state evidence in favour of the respondent and be cross-examined by the complainant.

The chairperson takes notes throughout the hearing and can interrupt to get more clarification. After all the proceedings are done the chair can adjourn the hearing, which will then re-convene the next day with a verdict.  

Frenchside interpretation services For Disciplinary hearings

Frenchside can help with interpretations during the disciplinary hearing procedure. We offer several types of interpreting services, both on-location and remotely. Our professionally trained interpreters speak IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Sepedi, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Venda and English. Frenchside has a team of 30 local interpreters spread across South Africa, you can find us in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape town. Our interpreting services are tailored to your specific requirements. We will advise you on which type of interpreter will suit you best.

Please give us a call if you have questions about the services we provide on 012 348 3134. Alternatively, send us an email to info@frenchside.co.za and a member of our friendly team will get back to you.

Disciplinary Hearing procedure For Employees - South Africa
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Disciplinary Hearing procedure For Employees - South Africa
The following blog post outlines a detailed description of the procedures followed during a disciplinary hearing and disciplinary actions which need to be taken before the hearing.
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