Long v South African Breweries

Constitutional Court confirms it is not necessary to hold a pre-suspension hearing.

In Long v South African Breweries (Pty) Ltd and Others [2018] ZACC 7 the Constitutional Court confirmed that there is no requirement to afford the employee an opportunity to make representations prior to the implementation of his/her precautionary suspension by an employer.

The Constitutional Court supported the Labour Court’s position that the suspension imposed on the applicant in this matter, was a precautionary measure, not a disciplinary one.

Consequently, the requirements relating to fair disciplinary action under the Labour Relation Act did not apply.

In the circumstances, where a suspension of an employee is precautionary and not punitive, there is no requirement that an employer must afford an employee an opportunity to make representations prior to suspension.

This creates certainty. Employers had previously adopted the practice of holding pre-suspension hearings and then only after receiving submissions, deciding whether to implement the precautionary suspension. Clarity has finally been provided by our top court.





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