Foschini Group (Pty) Ltd v CCMA & others (2001) 22 ILJ 1642 (LC)

Principle:

Even where an assault takes place away from the workplace, it can impact on work relationships in a damaging way, justifying dismissal.

Facts:

The employer dismissed an employee for stabbing an employee of another store. The CCMA Commissioner said that dismissal was not justified because the stabbing took place away from the workplace and did not involve a colleague. The Labour Court, hearing the matter on review, held that the fact that an assault did not take place on the employer's premises was of small significance when considering the other facts surrounding the assault. These facts were (a) the employee stabbed the other person several times after she had fallen over after the first stab wound; (b) the incident took place in a small town where it was no small matter for one shop assistant to stab another shop's assistant on the pavement; (c) reports were made to the employer that unless the employee was dismissed, the shop would no longer be supported; (d) the employee, after the stabbing, entered the employer's shop with the knife still in her hands.

Extract from the judgment:

Employers are most certainly entitled to regard violent conduct... in a most serious light. Co-employees and customers are entitled to feel safe on an employer's business.