Today's Labour News

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labourcourtsIOL Business writes that employees who deliberately and recklessly place their colleagues at risk of health hazards by going into work when they are ill, can be charged with misconduct and fired.

This is the conclusion to be drawn from a Labour Court ruling which found that a company was within its rights to dismiss a worker who reported to work despite knowing he could have Covid-19. While this matter occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic and involved a life-threatening virus, legal experts say the principles and issues at the centre of the case have wider relevance and can be applied in other matters. “The case ultimately underscores an employee’s duty of care and the principle that, when an employee deliberately and recklessly places their colleagues at risk of health hazards, potentially causing harm to their fellow workers, it constitutes misconduct which may well justify dismissal,” explained ENS Africa’s Jessie Gertzen and Tshepo Mofokeng. In brief, a tow truck driver was charged with, amongst other things, failing to self-isolate while awaiting the outcome of a Covid-19 test and, thus, wilfully endangering the safety of others in the workplace. A CCMA commissioner found that the employee had been unfairly dismissed, from both a procedural and a substantive perspective. Aggrieved by this outcome, the employer launched a successful application in the Labour Court seeking to review and set aside the arbitration award. There was evidence that employees were trained on the steps to be taken when they suspected that they were infected with the virus and that they were instructed not to attend work until they had received their test results. The fact that the employee went for a Covid-19 test meant that he suspected he had contracted the virus but still went to work before receiving his results.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bonny Fourie at IOL Business

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