Chagunda v Priceworth Wholesalers (IRC 352 of 2066 ) (352 of 2066) [2007] MWIRC 68 (31 December 2007);

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IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI


PRINCIPAL REGISTRY


MATTER NUMBER IRC 352 OF 2006


BETWEEN



CHAGUNDA…..……...……………………………...………………….. APPLICANT


-and-


PRICEWORTH WHOLESALERS…………..………...……………...RESPONDENT



CORAM: R ZIBELU BANDA (MS); CHAIRPERSON

MRN PADAMBO; EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST

D NAMANDWA; EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST

Applicant; present

Respondent; Absent no excuse

Chinkudzu; Official Interpreter



JUDGMENT

  1. Dismissal-Reason for dismissal- Misconduct- Absenteeism
  2. Procedure- Opportunity to be heard- and defend oneself-Employee to be given a chance to explain his side and defend himself

Facts

The applicant was employed on 8 January 1993 as driver. His services were terminated on 6 June 2006. The reason was that he had left the office to attend a funeral of a relative. The applicant stated that he had asked for permission to attend the funeral. Yet when he reported back for duties he was dismissed. He was not given a hearing. He took out this action alleging that the dismissal was unfair. The respondent was invited to a hearing but they did not attend court. No reason was given for non attendance. The court invoked provisions of section 74 of the Labour Relations Act and proceeded to dispose of the case.


The Law

Absence from work can be a reason for dismissal according to section 59 Employment Act. However where authority is given to be absent from work, an employer is not entitled to dismiss such employee. The applicant alleged that he was absent from work for a valid reason and after getting permission from his supervisor. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the court finds that the dismissal was based on an invalid reason.


Procedure

The applicant alleged that he was not given a hearing before the dismissal. The court finds that the respondent did not comply with a fair procedure before dismissal.


Finding

The Court finds that the respondent did not comply with the law. The reason was not valid and the applicant was not given any hearing. The respondent violated section 57 of the Employment Act. This termination was therefore unfair .


Assessment of Award

The applicant is entitled to an award under section 63 of the Employment Act. He is also entitled to notice pay and severance allowance as claimed. The court shall set down a date to assess compensation. Both parties shall be required to attend the assessment.


Any party aggrieved by this decision is at liberty to appeal to the High Court within 30 days of this judgment.


Made this 31st day of December 2007 at BLANTYRE.




Rachel Zibelu Banda

CHAIRPERSON



Maxwell RN Padambo

EMPLOYEES’ PANELIST



Daphter Namandwa

EMPLOYERS’ PANELIST