Alexander Forbes and its former CEO Andrew Darfoor’s breakup gone wrong?

 

The relationship of trust between and employer and its employees is, in our opinion, absolutely necessary as a key ingredient to avoiding conflict at the workplace. However, in the event that the employer considers that the relationship has broken down, it is not enough for an employer to merely allege a breakdown in the trust relationship.

Evidence must be led at the disciplinary enquiry and arbitration to show how the specific instances of an employee’s misconduct destroyed the trust relationship. In addition, the trust relationship does not automatically break down each time an employee commits misconduct. The employer will have to show the connection.In some cases, the conduct of the employee might be so poor that it would warrant an inference that the trust relationship has been destroyed. It is however always better if such evidence is led by people who are in a position to testify to such breakdown. In short, employers are well advised to lead proper evidence of a breakdown in the relationship or face the prospect of reinstatement

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BusinessLive reports that just as Alexander Forbes announced the appointment of a new CEO with links to Sanlam and Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital (ARC), axed CEO Andrew Darfoor launched a challenge to his dismissal.
Darfoor, who was axed last week after the board lost “confidence and trust” in him, indicated on Monday that he had taken legal steps against Alexander Forbes by serving and lodging a CCMA labour dispute.  The company announced the appointment of Dawie de Villiers, a former Sanlam executive, as the new CEO, less than a week after firing Darfoor.  De Villiers, who has led Sanlam’s employee-benefits division since 2013, will start as the CEO of the country’s largest pension-fund administrator on 1 November 2018.  Labour lawyer Andrew Levy commented that the swift appointment of De Villiers was not likely to strengthen Darfoor’s case.  “There is nothing wrong in law with running the processes of dismissing a person and looking for their replacement simultaneously, provided that the dismissal is lawful,” said Levy.  But another labour law expert, a senior partner at Cowan Harper Madikizela Attorneys, Rod Harper, said the speed at which this replacement happened was unusual.  Alexander Forbes has meanwhile not elaborated on its reasons for losing confidence in Darfoor.

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