Gijima Ast (Pty) Ltd v Hopley (CA7/12) [2014] ZALAC 9 ; (2014) 35 ILJ 2115 (LAC) (7 February 2014) per Tlaletsi ADJP [Waglay JP and Coppin AJA concurring]

“[36] The ordinary meaning of the word ‘reinstate’ is to put the employee back into the same job or position he or she occupied before the dismissal, on the same terms and conditions.  Reinstatement is the primary statutory remedy in unfair dismissal disputes.  It is aimed at placing an employee in the position he or she would have been but for   the unfair dismissal.  It safeguards workers’ employment by restoring the employment contract.  Differently put, if employees are reinstated they resume employment on the same terms and conditions that prevailed at the time of their dismissal”.

[1] This is an appeal against the order of the Labour Court (per Rabkin-Naicker J) pursuant to a trial involving a dispute about the fairness or otherwise of the respondent’s dismissal by his erstwhile employer the appellant.  The appellant contended that the dismissal of the respondent was based on its operational requirements and was fair.  The respondent however, contended that his dismissal was unfair.

[2] The Labour Court, in a judgment handed down on 9 March 2012, held that the respondent’s dismissal was substantively unfair and ordered the appellant to pay the respondent compensation equivalent to six times his monthly salary at the rate of his remuneration at the time of his dismissal and costs of the trial.

[3] The appellant is appealing against that part of the order declaring the dismissal to be substantively unfair.  The respondent in return supports the order in respect of substantive unfairness but filed a cross-appeal against that part of the order awarding him compensation.  The appeal is in this Court with leave of the court below.