1. First off, you are perfectly correct. The burden of proof is on them to prove your guilt, not you to prove your innocence. Also, you must be given the opportunity to defend the matter and may be allowed representation by a Union Representative or a fellow employee. You are allowed to call your own witnesses and you are allowed to call your witnesses, cross examine theirs and present your own evidence.
2. You are also correct in that the charge must be sufficiently formulated for you to know exactly what you were charged with in order to defend yourself. The employer should not be allowed to go on a fishing expedition at the hearing to establish other charges on which to dismiss you. You need to be wary of this and you should keep them to the charge sheet.
3. There is, however, no set rules when it comes to disciplinary hearings, merely guidelines. For instance, at CCMA, we exchange bundles of evidentiary matter before we start. If the matter is not complex, it is done the day of the hearing, but more often than not, that exchange is done a week or two before the hearing.
4. At the hearing, however, no set rules exist, but, if you are presented with a document and there are other documentary evidence readily available that can refute theirs, you will be well within your rights to ask the commissioner to stop the proceedings and order the employer to produce that document.
5. What you can do is inform your employer that the charge sheet is not particular enough in order for you to prepare for a defence. That you wish to see their documentation beforehand and you will afford them the same courtesy, that if they refuse, they run the risk of unnecessarily stretching out the hearing and run the risk of having the procedure declared procedurally unfair at the CCMA.
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