Card-playing workers lose CCMA case in which boss was accused of racism

12 June 2019 - 13:08 By TIMESLIVE
Four employees of a Johannesburg company were fired after 'falsely' accusing their employer of racism.
Four employees of a Johannesburg company were fired after 'falsely' accusing their employer of racism.
Image: 123rf/ Taras Tsurka

Four employees of a Johannesburg company have lost their case to be reinstated after they were fired for accusing their boss of making racial comments against them.

The employees were allegedly playing cards outside the company's premises when they were caught by their employer.

"The chief executive officer of O-Line, Mr Smart, drove past the employees in his vehicle and reprimanded them for playing cards outside of the premises. The employees allege that Mr Smart swore at them, called them idiots and made a racial comment," said Werksmans Attorneys director Jacques van Wyk in a statement.

He said the employees attempted to meet the CEO to discuss the incident.

"Aggrieved by his conduct, the employees reported the incident to their shop steward at the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) who advised them to complete a grievance form to report the CEO's conduct.

"The grievance, which pertained to the allegation that the CEO made a racist comment, was completed but the Numsa official did not submit it to the employer."

Van Wyk revealed that the employees were called to a disciplinary hearing on October 17 2018 for their misconduct.

"On the morning of the disciplinary hearing, the Numsa official told the employees that he 'forgot' to submit the grievance form and that they should submit it that same day. O-Line did not believe the substance of the grievance," he said.

Van Wyk said a second disciplinary hearing was held during which the employees were charged with "deliberately supplying incorrect and/or falsified information regarding the CEO's statements to the employees".

They were then dismissed from the company.

Not satisfied with the results, the employees then took their case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and lost.

Van Wyk's firm represented the company at the CCMA.


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