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CCMAIOL reports that a Durban woman, who was fired for refusing to return to the office during level 3 lockdown in June last year, citing a comorbidity, has won her case in the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The CCMA recently ruled in the woman’s favour It found that the woman had not wilfully or deliberately refuse the instruction to return to work and the employer had not proved that the dismissal was fair. She was awarded nine months’ salary. According to the award, the woman was dismissed for gross insubordination in that she failed to adhere to the company’s human resource’s instruction to return to work. She was also charged with misconduct in that she was absent for a period of about six days during June 2020. In its arguments, the employer claimed that the woman had produced a doctor’s note that was not stamped by a medical practitioner and that the medical note did not declare she was unfit to resume duties. The company claimed that it had put in place various Covid-19 related precautions, including partitions between work stations and various PPE as per government regulations. A testified that he had put in “exhaustive measures” for staff to return to work. However, under cross-examination, he admitted that it was possible that partitions were not in place, and conceded that the office was an open plan arrangement. The woman told the arbitration hearing that no changes were made to the workplace, according to Covid-19 regulations. She said she had made many requests with the employer to make it safe for her to return to work, but they failed to do so. In his findings, the CCMA commissioner found that the woman’s dismissal had been both substantively and procedurally unfair.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Jolene Marriah-Maharaj at IOL

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