Cape Times E-dition

Employee axed for ‘overdoing’ overtime claims


CLOCKING for overtime that has not been worked can have dire consequences – as a quality assurance poultry meat examiner found out.

Seabata Radiboke was axed by Supreme Poultry after working there for 13 years. He was fired for clocking more than 59 hours’ overtime.

He challenged his dismissal and an arbitrator found that Radiboke had indeed broken the rule with regards to dishonesty. It was said at the time that the rule was important as it came down to an employment relationship which was based on trust.

The arbitrator held that traditionally dishonesty in the workplace has been seen as an offence so serious as to warrant dismissal because it could render the employment relationship intolerable.

However, the arbitrator decided that Radiboke’s dismissal was procedurally and substantively unfair. She found that Supreme Poultry had been inconsistent in dismissing Radiboke because the heads of department and the shift manager who had requested and approved the overtime hours were “spared”.

Even though Radiboke could not account for the 59 hours overtime in question, those hours had been approved by relevant managers who had signed for their approval.

The arbitrator ordered that he had to be reinstated.

The poultry watchdog meanwhile turned to the Labour Court in Cape Town and asked that the arbitration award be reviewed, set aside and replaced with an order that Radiboke’s dismissal was indeed substantively and procedurally fair.

Judge Robert Lagrange said he accepted that the charge sheet did not convey all the specific occasions on which Radiboke was alleged to have claimed for unauthorised overtime.

He said the findings in relation to the excess overtime claimed for June 2019 (59 hours) alone warranted grounds for finding the dismissal substantively and procedurally fair.





African News Agency