Mthega and Otherws v Shoprite Tradind (MW) Ltd (IRC 36 of 2004 ) (36 of 2004) [2007] MWIRC 64 (15 November 2007);

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IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI


PRINCIPAL REGISTRY


MATTER NO. IRC 36 OF 2004


BETWEEN


MTEGHA & OTHERS…………………………………… ……………...APPLICANT


-and-


SHOPRITE TRADING (MW) LTD……………………..…………….RESPONDENT



CORAM: R. ZIBELU BANDA (MS.); CHAIRPERSON
M. CHILENGA; EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST
PADAMBO; EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST
Chizuma (Ms.) Ag. Deputy Chairperson
Applicant; Present
Respondent; Absent without excuse
Ngalauka; Official Interpreter


JUDGMENT

  1. Dismissal- Reason-Misconduct-Dishonesty-Consuming Stork-Without authority

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


Facts

The applicants were employed by the respondent. They were working in a take away food outlet. They were accused of consuming stork without authority. They were invited to a hearing. They denied the allegations. The respondent was not convinced and they proceeded to dismiss the applicants. The applicants challenged the dismissal hence this action. The respondent contended that the dismissal was fair.

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 misuse of company property including consuming company stork without authority has been held in this court to constitute valid ground for dismissal, see: generally, Hamuza & another v Dwangwa Sugar Corporation [Matter Number IRC 169 of 2004 (unreported)] IRC. In this case it was clear to the court that applicants had indeed acted dishonestly. They misused company property, i.e. eating company stork without authority.


Finding

The court finds that the reason for dismissal was valid and that the applicants were accorded an opportunity to state their 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 15th day of November 2007 at BLANTYRE.



Rachel Zibelu Banda

CHAIRPERSON



Joel Evalisto Chilenga

EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST



Padambo

EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST