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Disciplinary &
Poor Work Performance Hearings


A disciplinary hearing is basically an enquiry held by the employer to determine whether an employee is guilty of an offence or not.

A poor work performance hearing is similar, but the emphasis is not a particular misconduct, but rather on why the work an employee is doing, no longer meets the employer’s expectations


Disciplinary & Poor Work Performance Hearings



Disciplinary hearings – the basics

How do postpone a disciplinary hearing

7 disciplinary hearing tips

Opening statements

Resigning to avoid a disciplinary hearing

Disciplinary hearing evidence


 Here is what you need to do to prepare so that you have the best chance of successfully defending yourself.
Please read further below for a detailed step by step practical guide on how to defend yourself in a disciplinary hearing.

The first step is to list all of the charges against you. Next to each charge, you have to decide whether you are guilty or not. If you are not guilty of the charge, then will proceed to the next step.
Example Charge 1: theft – not guilty

For those charges that you have indicated not guilty, write down what defence you have against that charge. In other words, why should you not be found guilty? Example charge 1: theft – not guilty – my defence is that I did not steal the bread because I was not at work on that day

You do not have physically have the evidence but at least make sure that you have an idea of what evidence you intend using. This can take the form of witnesses or documents. Example charge 1: theft – not guilty – my defence is that I did not steal the bread because I was not at work on that day. My evidence is the workplace register because on that day it shows I was not present at work.

Make sure to write your defence and what evidence you intend using to prove your innocence for each charge. Your preparation here will be critical.

Remember to be calm. You are there to present your case in the best light possible. If your emotions get the better of you – it will be more difficult for you to win your case.

Example: “Hello Chairperson. My name is John from Durban. I am here to defend myself against the charges that are brought against me. I have been with the company for 2 years in the position of Admin Manager. I believe that these charges are without merit. And if I am not successful here, I will approach the CCMA for help because it is my legal right to do so”

Make sure to ask questions on what the witnesses’ against you are saying. Focus on the facts of the case. Check dates, times, version of events etc. Write their testimony down and cross examine them fully.

When its your turn, do not hesitate to lead your evidence on why you are innocent. This is all the documents and witnesses that you noted in step 3 above. After the hearing, wait for the ruling from the chairperson. If you are unhappy with the ruling, you can refer the case to the CCMA. Bear in mind you only have 30 days to do so (from the date you have been dismissed)

Disciplinary hearings vs CCMA Arbitration

Disciplinary hearings defences

Opening Statements

Disciplinary hearings questions

REDS Listing

OPening up a CCMA case online


Frequently Asked Questions

How to defend yourself in a disciplinary hearing in South Africa

After the employer has had a chance, it will be your turn. Start with your strongest evidence first. In other words, if you have a witness, call that witness. If you have documentary proof then hand up copies. Always lead with your strongest evidence first. Then you can build your case on that. 

Ask questions that will prove your innocence. In other words, choose questions that show your case is true and the employer’s case is false. Example questions are: how did you know? Why did you assume this? 

The majority of disciplinary hearings are won by the employer. Because the employees do not prepare enough. In spite of this, if you lose, you can still refer a case to the CCMA

Legal Leaders has over 8 years’ experience in Labour Law. We specialise solely in CCMA and Labour Court Cases. We have helped clients prepare for disciplinary hearings.

In most of our cases, the other party settles before the case is finalised. Our client’s get their job back or get awarded compensation. Not every case is the same and it depends on the evidence you have and how strong arguments can be made in your case.

The charges can either be dropped, or you may face a dismissal. If you are dismissed, immediately contact us so that we can help you refer your case to the CCMA.

Disciplinary Hearings are usually resolved within a week. However once your case is referred to the CCMA, or Bargaining Council, the process generally 6-8 weeks from the date of referral.

 During the consultation, this is what you are guaranteed:

  1. You will speak one-on-one with a certified Lawyer who will listen to you and review the facts of your case
  2. After listening to you and going through the evidence, we will advise you whether you have a case or not
  3. You will also receive a full explanation of your legal rights and what the strengths and weaknesses of your case are.

At the end of the consultation, you will feel educated, empowered and most importantly aware of what the next step for your case is. 

Find out if you have a case

Attorneys spend a lot of time, effort and money to gain their expertise and knowledge and a good consultation provides the client with valuable information

Some attorneys use consultation fees to determine how serious you are about your case.

Charging for the initial consultation can help us identify people who are simply looking for free advice and not interested in pursuing their case.

In two simple steps:

Step 1: Select your available time and day for the consultation with your Lawyer

Step 2: Confirm your Appointment by making your appointment. All our payments are handled by PayFast – a secure South African payment Gateway with high level bit encryption and protection.

Keep in mind that a dismissal may affect your ability to gain future employment, apply to schools and even find an apartment.   Legal Leaders understands how the CCMA and Labour court system works and helps clients facing disciplinary charges. We know that those who have been dismissed have a lot at stake. That is why we are dedicated to representing our clients.


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Legal Leaders

Also referred to as unsatisfactory work, or poor work quality, or substandard work performance, there are many different examples of Poor Work Performance (PWP) that can occur, or that an employee may be unfairly accused of.

In today’s fast paced digital economy, managing poor work performance is a top priority for almost every company. It is highly recommended that a company develops and implements a code of good practice, and that it ensures that the code takes into account what is considered PWP and what is not considered as PWP. It would, for example, help to define the company’s stance on incapacity and its relationship to PWP.


Further it would provide the framework for the PWP hearing process, how managers should manage PWP, including methods to deal with unsatisfactory work.


PWP should not been treated as misconduct – it is fundamentally different, although the hearing process is similar. That said, South African labour law is progressive in nature, and as such PWP hearings should follow in that spirit.

Poor Work Performance hearings

Poor Work Performance and Misconduct Hearings

Aslam Moolla


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