Sibande v College of Malawi Health Services (IRC358 of 20044 ) ( of ) [2007] MWIRC 58 (08 November 2007);

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IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI


PRINCIPAL REGISTRY


MATTER NO. IRC 358 OF 2004


BETWEEN


SIBANDE…..……………………………………………… ……………...APPLICANT


-and-


MALAWI COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES…... ……………..RESPONDENT



CORAM: R. ZIBELU BANDA (MS.); CHAIRPERSON
A. MALIJANI; EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST
NC KAJOMBO; EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST
Respondent; Absent no excuse
Applicant; Present
Gowa; Official Interpreter


JUDGMENT

  1. Dismissal- Reason-Misconduct-Violence-Physical abuse-Fighting-Beating up Supervisor

  2. Procedure-Right to be heard-Disciplinary hearing- Fair


Facts

The applicant was employed by the respondent. The respondent organized a Christmas party where the applicant was invited. The applicant admitted that he was intoxicated from drinking alcoholic drink. In the course of but towards the end of the party the applicant disagreed with his immediate supervisor. He applied physical force and beat up the Supervisor. The applicant was interdicted. Later he was invited for a disciplinary hearing. He was asked to explain the incident where he ended up beating up his Supervisor. The applicant explained and defended himself. However the respondent was not convinced with the applicant’s defense. They proceeded to dismiss him. The applicant challenged the termination.


The respondent did not attend court to give evidence. The court heard from the applicant alone. It was not in dispute that the applicant fought with his boss. It was also not in dispute that the boss was in fact a woman. If anything these two factors aggravated the case against the applicant. The respondent dismissed the applicant as punishment for such misconduct.



The Law

Section 57(1) of the Employment Act provides that before dismissal a person must be provided with a valid reason. While section 57(2) of the act provides that where the reason is connected with a person’s conduct, he must be given an opportunity to be heard.

Several cases have held that in all cases of dismissal, an employee must be given a valid reason and an opportunity to state his case and defend himself. See for example: Beseni v Education Department of Nkhoma Synod [Matter Number IRC 320 of 2002 (unreported)] IRC.


Misconduct involving fighting in a workplace, threatening or violence against one’s superiors has been held in this court to constitute a valid reason for dismissal see; Ngalande v Blantyre Water Board [Matter Number IRC 150 of 2000 (unreported)] . The applicant was given a fair hearing on two occasions.


Finding

The court finds that the reason for dismissal was valid and that the applicant was accorded an opportunity to state his case before dismissal. The respondent complied with the requirements of the law. This action is therefore dismissed in its entirety.


Any party aggrieved by this decision has the right of appeal to the High Court within 30 days of this decision. Appeal lies only on matters of law and jurisdiction and not facts: Section 65 (2) of the Labour Relations Act.


Made this 8th day of November 2007 at BLANTYRE.



Rachel Zibelu Banda

CHAIRPERSON



Aiman M Malijani

EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST



Nick Chifundo Kajombo

EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST