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August 2021 NEWSLETTER
Employee Looting and Strike Violence: When Is Dismissal Fair?

Employee looting or violence may be strike-related or it may occur in non-workplace scenarios such as the recent public lawlessness we have all seen splashed across our screens. In both cases, employers need to tread with care.

We’ll firstly address the scenario of strike action and labour unrest. As we shall see, the spectre of summary dismissal hangs over the head of any striker found guilty of violent or intimidatory conduct, but will dismissal be considered a fair sanction for strikers whose proved actions do not extend beyond the carrying of dangerous weapons, or beyond being part of a violent crowd? Two Labour Appeal Court decisions illustrate.

We’ll turn then to the non-workplace scenario and the question of whether you can dismiss any off-duty employee identified as taking part in public disorder and looting.

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Violence and Looting – Can You Sue SAPS?
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The recent widespread public unrest, destruction of property and looting caused massive loss and damage in two provinces, and our television sets and other news media carried images of rampaging crowds looting and burning – with, for the first few days at least, very little evidence of effective police reaction.

Many of those who suffered losses (or their insurers) will no doubt be wondering if they might have a claim for damages from the police and other agencies tasked with protecting us from crime. We address the issue with reference to the case of a farm vandalised during a worker’s strike marked by stonings, petrol-bombings, arson, assaults, intimidation, looting, and destruction of property. The police were held by the High Court to be liable for damages after failing in their duty to assist the farm and non-striking workers. 
   
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Noisy Neighbours – Your Rights, and Buyers Beware!
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We’ve all had them – noisy neighbours whose dogs bark incessantly, whose late-night parties leave everyone sleep-deprived, whose businesses make working from home and relaxing in the garden an impossibility. 

We’ll have a look at two aspects of this problem, starting with the option of taking your neighbours to court if a friendly approach to them bears no fruit. What must you prove to get a court order? Two very different cases, one involving a suburban puppy daycare business and the other a city centre gym, illustrate.   

Secondly, we share some thoughts for property buyers on preventing problems upfront by doing your “noise risk” homework before you buy.

   
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Directors, Creditors - Do Personal Suretyships Survive Business Rescue?
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Cases of business rescue, the “first aid for companies” option increasingly pursued by corporates in financial distress, are regrettably likely to surge in these times of pandemic- and unrest-related economic loss.

A question close to the hearts of creditors will be “can I still sue sureties for whatever shortfall I suffer at the end of this process?”, whilst on the other side of the coin directors will be worrying about whether the personal suretyships they signed in favour of creditors will survive a successful business rescue.

A recent Supreme Court of Appeal decision has brought some welcome clarity to both issues.  

   
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Your Websites of the Month: Measure and Maximise Your Business Creativity
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“Creativity is the key to success” (Abdul Kalam)

It’s hard to think of a successful entrepreneur who isn’t at heart creative. Creativity comes with the territory, and anything you can do to increase it has got to be good for your bottom line.

The good news is that you can train yourself to maximise your creativity. First off take “The Divergent Association Task” here – it measures your creativity in under 4 minutes. Then move on to HuffPost’s 5 Creativity-building tips in “Yes, You Can Train Yourself to Be More Creative. Here's How” here.

   







Disclaimer

The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.


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