In the matter of Long V SA Breweries (PTY) Ltd & Others CCT61/18; CCT61/18  ZACC 07, the Constitutional Court found that the employer no longer needs to take submissions on why the employee should not be suspended, before suspending the employee on a precautionary basis before a disciplinary hearing.
Employers are still obligated to pay employees during the time that they are placed on suspension. The above judgment also does not provide the employer with the right to merely suspend the employee without providing the reason for such a precautionary suspension. Thus, the employer should still provide the employee with a notification of a future disciplinary hearing, setting out the charges which are being put to the employee, or the employee should at least be provided with a reason for his/her suspension and that a notification to attend a disciplinary hearing would follow once the necessary investigations are completed.
The above-mentioned landmark case provides the employer with a speedier process of suspension prior to a disciplinary hearing, thus dispatching with the time consuming and laborious process of having to provide the employee with a timeframe in which he/she could formulate and provide representations regarding their reasons for not wanting to be suspended.
It is, however, still advisable to allow the employee to make written statements or representations before such a suspension and disciplinary process, as it may assist with the investigation of the matter, should a hearing subsequently follow.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dyllan Jankielsohn is a labour legal advisor at SEESA Bloemfontein. He obtained his LLB degree from the University of the Free State. He is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and has approximately 4 and a half years of experience in the field of labour law.