The Labour Court has in a number of matters considered the aspect of compensation.
It quite rightly stated that in a matter of constructive dismissal the employment relationship and the manner in which the employees’ role played out in its deterioration must be taken into account and if the court is of the opinion that the employee contributed to this deterioration of the relationship it can take it into account and reduce the amount of compensation ordered.
The Supreme Court of Appeal in a different decision considered the decision of the Labour Appeal Court in a matter which had taken 6 years to run its course through the various labour law forums from the CCMA through the Labour Courts, to the Labour Appeal Court and finally on to the Supreme
Court of Appeal. At the Labour Appeal Court it was decided because of the length of time which had passed compensation instead of reinstatement would be awarded.
However, the Supreme Court of Appeal disagreed saying that just because a matter takes time to resolve it does not mean that the Labour Appeal Court can expand on the remedies provided in the Labour Relations Act. The decision of the Labour Appeal Court was reversed.
The Labour Court was faced with a claim made by an employee that his continued employment has been made intolerable. In this matter, however, the employee resigned before a disciplinary hearing took place claiming that the proposed chairman was biased. The Labour Court said that the resignation was premature and as the employee had not exhausted all remedies available to him his claim for an unfair dismissal was rejected.
The Courts have again confirmed that a letter of resignation does not require acceptance by the employer. A letter of resignation cannot be withdrawn. The letter terminates the contract of employment.
The Courts endorsed its stance that it is reluctant to interfere in internal proceedings unless exceptional circumstances exist. It did not intervene and prevent a disciplinary hearing from taking place.