Dismissal for exposing others to virus ruled fair
Going to work while awaiting the results of his Covid-19 test in July 2020 and allegedly spitting at a nurse cost a tow truck driver dearly after he was fired following a disciplinary hearing and the Gqeberha Labour Court confirmed that his dismissal was fair.
A Pretoria News report says the court reasoned Thembalukhe Diamond knew that his employer, DHL Supply Chain, had a policy in place during 2020 that employees who had Covid – or suspected that they had it – should isolate themselves at home.
The company also presented training in this regard – sessions which Diamond had attended. DHL argued that he thus very well knew that the company was committed to keeping other employees safe by not allowing someone who had Covid, or may have it, back at work until they were better.
Diamond initially took his dismissal to arbitration, where a commissioner ruled that it was substantively and procedurally unfair.
DHL took the matter to the Labour Court, where Judge Zolashe Lallie ruled a dismissal cannot be unfair if an employee knowingly and deliberately exposed others at his work to the potentially deadly virus.
The gravity of the employee’s misconduct at the time of its commission should not have been underestimated by the commissioner, Lallie said.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.