21 February 2019 by and Employment Alert

Hot off the bench: Constitutional Court confirms it is not necessary to hold a pre-suspension hearing

On Tuesday, 19 February 2019, the Constitutional Court confirmed in the decision of Long v South African Breweries (Pty) Ltd and Others [2018] ZACC 7, that where a suspension is precautionary (pending an investigation - and which suspension is not punitive), that there is no requirement that an employee be given an opportunity to make representations prior to the suspension being implemented.

The court went on to hold that although there is the additional consideration of prejudice, this is ameliorated by the suspension being on full pay for the period of the suspension.

Accordingly, the Constitutional Court has confirmed that there is no requirement to afford the employee an opportunity to make representations prior to the implementation of his/her precautionary suspension by an employer.

This is a victorious outcome for Employers who have to date adopted the practice of holding pre-suspension hearings and then only after receiving submissions, deciding whether to implement the precautionary suspension or not. Clarity has finally been provided by our top court.

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