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An employer may not simply tell an employee to “leave” or “not come back” to work, even in cases where gross misconduct like theft is being alleged. You cannot be dismissed based on accusations alone. When an employer wants to dismiss an employee, it must be for fair reasons (substantively fair) and it must follow a fair process (procedurally fair). However, you could be fired “with immediate effect” following the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
If you are being accused of misconduct, you must be given a disciplinary hearing. The case against you must be presented and you must be given an opportunity to present your case also and defend yourself against the allegations. It’s important to note here that failing a polygraph test is not enough evidence on its own to dismiss an employee. Once the hearing has taken place, if it is proved that you are guilty of misconduct that is serious enough to warrant being dismissed, then the employer may choose to dismiss you. This is also called “summary dismissal” and means that, due to the seriousness of misconduct that has been committed, the employee will be dismissed with immediate effect following the outcome of the disciplinary hearing and will not be required to work their notice period.
So yes, you can be fired “with immediate effect”, but only after a disciplinary hearing has been conducted and found you guilty, and the offence is serious enough that it is considered fair to dismiss the employee. You cannot just be fired or told to leave without this process taking place.
You may also be interested in:
Check if you are registered for UIF
If I’m fired, what must my employer pay me?
Going to CCMA over dismissal
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 25 May 2022
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