Does s 138(7)(a) of the LRA impose a duty on an arbitration to provide reasons for the quantum of compensation awarded?

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

In the matter of Moklakoana v CCMA and Another (JR284/09), Mr Mohlakoana’s dismissal was ruled substantively unfair by the CCMA and he was awarded compensation equal to the remuneration he would have earned in a two month period.

Mr Mohlakoana took the award on review as no reason was given for him being awarded only two months’ compensation.

Lagrange AJ (as he was then) found that “[e]ven though an arbitrator has a discretion and a degree of latitude on what to award in the way of compensation, it would be anomalous if the duty imposed on an arbitrator in terms of section 138(7)(a) of the LRA to provide brief reasons with an award did not include providing brief reasons for any remedy granted. For the employee and employer parties to any arbitration proceedings the most important components of any award are the arbitrator’s findings on the merits of dispute itself and any consequential relief granted. There is no reason why an arbitrator’s justification for an award should be confined to the findings on the merits of the dispute only.” (at §15)

Lagrange AJ granted the review of the compensation portion of the order on the basis that “[u]nless the justification for the relief can be readily discerned in the findings on the merits…, an arbitrator ought to provide brief reasons for the relief granted. In this case, the rationale for an award of two month’s remuneration cannot be determined from the commissioner’s findings on procedural and substantive unfairness”. (at §16)

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