Does resigning with immediate effect put a stop to disciplinary proceedings?
The past year has seen a number of high-profile instances of employees resigning, allegedly to avoid disciplinary proceedings against them. This issue was dealt with in the case of Mtati v KPMG Services (Pty) Limited.
The Labour Court ruled that if an employee resigns “with immediate effect”, the contract of employment comes to an end with immediate effect and the employer loses the right to proceed with a disciplinary hearing against that employee. Accordingly, if an employer proceeds with a disciplinary hearing, despite the employee’s immediate resignation, the disciplinary hearing will be considered to be null and void. This, according, to the court, must be distinguished from the situation where an employee gives notice to terminate the employment. Here, the employment contract would continue to run until the notice period expires and the employer may still discipline the employee during the notice period. Similarly, all obligations that arise from the contract are still binding between the employer and the employee during the notice period. This includes the duty of the employer to pay the salary of the employee.
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