I have been MD of a Company for 11 years, after starting the company subsidiary in S.A. in 2001.I learned today, via an e-mail accidently forwarded by my superior, that I am to be demoted, and a new MD. has been appointed from within the Group to be Platform Manager for Southern Africa, and MD of the Subsidiary.My direct superior was in S.A. for 9 days this month, and we jointly prepared the documents for the Southern African platform concept, so I had a reasonable expectation of being appointed to the role. No discussion of my future took place.I have been told telephonically that my services are to be retained, at my existing package, but no new role has been defined yet.Advice please!
Nothing yet, still too recent.
Welcome, thank you for the opportunity to address your question.I need a bit more information in order to provide you with a comprehensive answer:
No formal notice of restructuring has been issued, "platform concept" has been discussed, with no mention of new appointments.
New MD coming from abroad.
1 September 2012
Unilateral changes in the terms of service and particularly demotion for no fair reason without a fair process having been followed can be held to be an unfair labour practice.
The filling of a post without a fair and open opportunity to apply and be fairly considered is equally an unfair and discriminatory practice. There may be justification if the role is of such a nature that it would need to be kept confidential to protect the interests and governance compliance of the company.
Being transferred to no role or being in limbo is undoubtedly an unfair labour practice or may even be viewed as form of constructive dismissal designed to result in you resigning as a loss of face.
It is highly improbable that such an email at that level may have been leaked by error; perhaps assistance or forewarning was being provided.
It is possible that severance negotiations would be entered into during the next couple of months to ensure a smooth transition.
Your options are to either enter into negotiations now whilst transitional risk is high in order to obtain a more favorable outcome or to start contending the fairness and processes of your demotion, which could potentially increase the perception of transitional risk. It is unlikely that this type of matter would end up at the CCMA or labour court as these matters at this level are most often quietly settled.
The point to begin with would be to request to know what role you have been transferred to; no definitive answer is an answer.
It would be prudent to instruct a specialist labour attorney to review all documentation in detail and to guide you through the process and assist with settlement negotiations.
I trust that the legal information provided is helpful in assessing your position going forward. I am always happy to clarify any aspect of the answer provided should you so require. Feedback and a rating of my answer will be greatly appreciated as experts are only paid on answers positively rated by our clients.Best regards,
B.Com LLB Registered Corporate lawywer
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