IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI
MATTER NO. IRC 196 OF 2001
ADMARC ... ..RESPONDENT
- CORAM: R. ZIBELU BANDA (MS.); CHAIRPERSON
- A MALIJANI; EMPLOYERS PANELIST
M PADAMBO; EMPLOYEES
- Nchembe; For Respondent
- Applicant; Present
- Nchembe; For Respondent
Procedure-Right to be heard-Disciplinary hearing- Fair
The applicant was employed by the respondent. At the material time he was responsible for handling the respondents stork including tobacco. The applicant used to buy tobacco and other farm produce from farmers. He would then remit such produce to the respondents depots. It was found that the applicant had remitted less tobacco than what he had purchased and recorded in his books. The applicant was invited to a disciplinary hearing to explain the shortage. However the applicants explanation was not convincing, hence the dismissal. The applicant was aggrieved and brought this action. The respondent averred that the dismissal was fair.
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 persons 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 incurring shortages has been held to constitute valid ground for dismissal, see: Ulaya v SDV (AMI) (Mw) Ltd [Matter Number IRC 133 of 2001 (unreported)] IRC.
In this matter the applicant admitted that he had incurred shortages in tobacco. He also admitted attending a disciplinary hearing. He said he had a good reason for the shortage. He attempted to explain the reasons for the shortage. The court was not convinced with the applicants explanation. The court found as a fact that the applicant had incurred tobacco shortages and that he had no good reasons for the shortage to offer to the respondent at the disciplinary hearing on the issue.
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 4th day of March 2008 at BLANTYRE.
Rachel Zibelu Banda
Maxwell R Padambo