In the relationship between you and your employees, you will have individuals in your company who are duly authorised to conclude significant events in the employer – employee relationship. Two examples of these are entering into an employment contract and accepting a resignation. These duly authorised individuals need to be clearly ear-marked as, if they are not, you could end up being liable for some hefty penalties.

In Mazibuko / Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union – (2018) 27 CCMA 6.13.7 also reported at [2018] 8 BALR 867 (CCMA) illustrates a matter where a person was not designated as having the power to accept a resignation.

The employee, a trade union’s regional organiser, tendered a written letter of resignation to the employer. The union’s general secretary persuaded him to withdraw his resignation. The employee did so in writing and thanked the general secretary, in writing, for his “wisdom”.

The employee then received a letter, from his employer, informing him that his last day of service would be the end of the period of notice he had given in his original resignation letter. The employee claimed he had been unfairly dismissed. The employer maintained that his services had terminated as a result of his resignation.

The Commissioner at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) noted that the employee had worked after the period of notice given in his resignation letter and had been allocated to work on another case set down at a later date.

The union argued that the argument – which held that general secretary lacked power to allow the withdrawal of the resignation – was found to be improbable. The Commissioner also drew a negative suggestion from the fact that the general secretary had not been called to testify.

Although a resignation normally terminates employment, in this case it was clear from the general secretary’s action that the relationship had been restored. The employee had, accordingly, proven that he had been dismissed. The employee was awarded compensation of three months’ salary.

Employers need to be careful here if you and an employee want to withdraw the resignation. If this is withdrawn, the contract of employment – in its previous form – is reinstated.

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In the aspect of labour law, there are many such disputes that take place between employers and employees. If you have any labour law dispute in your company that needs to be resolved contact Syrene de Jager or anyone in the Global Business Solutions team. Follow this link to leave your details.