Home How to How to Win a CCMA Case as an Employee

How to Win a CCMA Case as an Employee


How to Win a CCMA Case as an Employee


As an employee, facing dismissal is a challenging and often emotionally charged experience. Whether the cause is misconduct, poor performance, or operational requirements like retrenchment, the process of dealing with an unfair dismissal can be both complex and emotionally draining. However, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) provides a platform for employees to seek justice and resolution. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of winning a CCMA case as an employee, emphasizing the crucial aspects of substantive and procedural fairness.

Substantive and Procedural Fairness

Substantive Fairness

Substantive fairness is the essence of a dismissal – the valid reason behind it. Misconduct, for example, must be serious enough to warrant dismissal, either as a single serious offense or the culmination of several less-serious infractions. In cases of retrenchment, the reasons must be genuine, such as a position becoming redundant or the employer’s inability to sustain current salary levels. It is essential for employees to discern whether their dismissal aligns with valid reasons.

Procedural Fairness

Even with a valid reason, procedural fairness is equally crucial. This involves following a fair process before dismissing an employee. The dismissal process should include proper notice of a disciplinary hearing, an unbiased chairperson, an opportunity for the employee to state their case, and consideration of mitigating factors. Failure to adhere to these procedural requirements can render an otherwise valid dismissal unfair.

How to Win a CCMA Case as an Employee

1. Reasons to Refer a Dispute


  • Evaluate the validity of the misconduct leading to dismissal.
  • Ensure proper notice of a disciplinary hearing is received.
  • Confirm the correctness of the disciplinary hearing procedures.


  • Verify the truthfulness of the reasons for retrenchment.
  • Ensure the proper retrenchment process is followed.

2. Referring a Dispute to the CCMA

  • Download and complete the Dispute Referral Form.
  • Submit the form to your employer and the nearest CCMA office.
  • Await notification of the Conciliation process.

3. Conciliation

  • Attempt to reach an amicable resolution with the employer.
  • If unsuccessful, prepare for the arbitration phase.

4. Arbitration

Winning as an Employee

  • Establish the dismissal if in dispute.
  • Shift the burden of proof to the employer to justify the fairness of the dismissal.
  • Cross-examine the employer’s witnesses thoroughly.
  • Present evidence of unfairness, focusing on substantive and procedural aspects.

5. Available Remedies

  • Reinstatement if continued employment is possible.
  • Compensation if continued employment is impossible, with amounts determined by the degree of unfairness.

Key Considerations and Practical Tips to Win a CCMA Case

  1. Don’t be late: File your case within the specified timeframe to avoid complications. Timeliness is crucial, and being late can lead to additional administrative hurdles.
  2. Be organized and confident:
    • Fill in forms accurately and completely.
    • Prepare for arbitration by organizing evidence and cross-examination questions.
    • Focus on each aspect of unfairness during the proceedings.
  3. Know your rights:
    • Resist intimidation tactics.
    • Commissioners cannot force you into an unwanted settlement.
    • Stand firm against coercion and insist on a fair process.

What happens if you lose a CCMA case?

If you lose a CCMA case, you may have the option to appeal to a higher court. However, this process can be more complicated and may require legal assistance.

How long does a CCMA case take?

The duration of a CCMA case can vary, but it typically takes a few weeks to a few months, depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and the availability of parties involved.

7 steps to deal with Unfair dismissal

  1. Evaluate the validity of the dismissal.
  2. Gather evidence supporting your case.
  3. Attempt internal resolution with your employer.
  4. File a dispute with the CCMA within the specified timeframe.
  5. Engage in conciliation to resolve the dispute.
  6. If unsuccessful, proceed to arbitration.
  7. Seek reinstatement or compensation based on the arbitration outcome.

CCMA cases dishonesty

Cases involving dishonesty can lead to dismissal if proven. Employees should ensure that the employer follows a fair process and that the alleged dishonesty is both valid and serious enough to warrant dismissal.

What happens when you win a CCMA case?

Winning a CCMA case may result in reinstatement or compensation, depending on the circumstances. The CCMA commissioner will determine the appropriate remedy based on the specifics of the case.

CCMA cases unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal cases are common at the CCMA. To succeed, employees must demonstrate both substantive and procedural unfairness in the dismissal process.

CCMA cases examples

Examples of CCMA cases include disputes related to misconduct, discrimination, retrenchment, and various other employment-related issues. Each case is unique, highlighting the importance of understanding the specific circumstances.

What to do if the employer refuses to comply with a CCMA decision

If the employer refuses to comply with a CCMA decision, the employee may need to seek legal advice and possibly take the matter to court for enforcement.


Winning a CCMA case as an employee requires a comprehensive understanding of both substantive and procedural fairness. By carefully evaluating the validity of the dismissal, following the correct referral procedures, and actively participating in the CCMA process, employees can increase their chances of a favorable outcome. Timeliness, organization, confidence, and knowledge of rights are crucial elements in navigating the complex terrain of a CCMA case. Remember, the goal is not only justice but also a fair and satisfactory resolution for both parties.

Key Takeaways

  • Substantive and procedural fairness are crucial in a CCMA case.
  • Timeliness is essential; don’t be late in filing your case.
  • Be organized, confident, and thoroughly prepared for arbitration.
  • Know your rights, resist intimidation, and insist on a fair process.
  • Winning strategies include proving the dismissal, shifting the burden of proof, and focusing on unfairness aspects.
  • Available remedies include reinstatement or compensation, with amounts determined by the degree of unfairness.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here