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33 pt. 2 Indus. L.J. (Juta) 1573 (2012)
A Practical Guide to Disciplinary Hearings by Michael Opperman

handle is hein.journals/iljuta35 and id is 43 raw text is: 

                                           Book Reviews

A Practical Guide to Disciplinary Hearings by Michael Opperman.
Cape Town Juta Law 2011. ISBN 978 07021 8631 8
Price R280,00 (inc VAT)

  The author's words in the opening paragraph of this guide read:
'When I sat down to write this book, I tried to remember what it was that I
needed most when I was thrown into the deep end during the disciplinary process.
I realised that a guide for a novice would have made my life so much easier - a
guide that would include the most commonly used disciplinary categories in
which I could quickly look up the most elementary information without too
much disruption during the course of a hearing'.
  The book gives expression to this identified need. The author de-
scribes it as a 'how to' guide, that includes a little of the 'what' and
'why' encapsulated in a reference book. The intention is that an em-
ployer or employee can use this work as a guide at a disciplinary
enquiry, by following the relevant template setting out the correct
procedure. The processes and templates contained in the book, con-
tends the author, should enable the employer or employee to use the
work as a template for a long time, as the processes discussed in tem-
plate form have 'already stood the test of time'.
  The guide essentially falls into five main sections in relation to dis-
ciplinary hearings: Misconduct, incapacity, the processing of evidence,
the decision-making process for misconduct, and appeals. The work is
rounded off with sections on grievance procedures and legislation. By
and large, the sections consist of an amalgam of principles, rights, laws,
rules and standards; templates (in shortened and long form) setting out
the processes to be followed; and commentary and examples to eluci-
date processes contained in the templates.
   The main principle underlying the author's approach is that if the
processes set out are followed as detailed, then there is little chance of a
disciplinary enquiry or its outcome being derailed because of allega-
tions of unfairness against the employer in the conduct of the enquiry.
In the opening chapter, which discusses the basics of misconduct, the
author gives as the fundamental purpose of a disciplinary hearing the
listening to all sides of an alleged transgression - essentially adum-
brating the audi principle - to determine the truth via due process;
and fairly and justly issuing a sanction that befits the misconduct, if the
situation requires it. Importantly, he points out that a disciplinary
hearing should not be used for revenge or any other ulterior purpose.
It is a process, he states, whereby one enforces discipline in the work-
place, and all personal agendas and feelings should be set aside. It is
critical, the writer advises, that the chair of a hearing remains 'level-
headed' and avoids operating in an antagonistic manner, despite pro-
vocation. This can be achieved if the chair follows the process in the


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