Retired woman gets job back in landmark judgment
More than 11 years after she was dismissed on ‘trumped-up charges’, and post retirement, a long-serving employee of Old Mutual Bank in Durban has won her case to be reinstated. In what a Times Select report calls a precedent-setting judgment, Durban Labour Court Judge David Gush ordered that Rumba Samuel – who had worked at the bank for 26 years prior to being fired in 2007 at the age of 56 – ought to be reinstated in spite of the passage of time.
Because Samuel has since passed the regulated retirement age of 61 at the bank she will not be physically reinstated, but entitled to her salary and all benefits from May 2007 until the end of August 2012 – when she would have gone on pension.
The matter came before Gush as an appeal from the CCMA where Samuel won her case – but instead of being allowed to return to her job as a receptionist, commissioner Jabulani Ngwane ordered instead that she be compensated with 12 months’ pay, the maximum award in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
Ngwane, in his ruling following the arbitration hearing – which Gush noted ‘took a startling four years’ – said he believed Samuel should not go back to work because it would not be conducive to good workplace relations and would ‘scratch open old wounds’.
But the judge said Ngwane was wrong.
He said Samuel had wanted to be reinstated and Ngwane had ‘punished’ her for having been unfairly dismissed on ‘probably trumped-up charges’ which were only laid after she lodged a grievance against her supervisor.
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