Supreme Court Ruling Makes Job Termination Easy

The Supreme Court has ruled that employers can terminate contracts of employment by giving three months notice of their intention to do so.

The judicial precedent follows a case where former BP Shell employees had taken Zuva Petroleum to court.

Zimbabwean employees who have enjoyed the legislative intervention and protection from wanton firing by their employers since 1980 are no longer safe from wanton retrenchment.

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that employers can fire workers after giving three months notice of termination of their employment.

This follows a landmark ruling handed down by the Supreme Court this Friday against Don Nyamande and Kingstone Donga, both former BP Shell employees, who had taken Zuva Petroleum who took over BP Shell to the Supreme Court challenging their expulsion.

Zuva Petroleum represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Nelson Chamisa under instruction from Innocent Chagonda successfully convinced the court that Section 12(4) of the Labour Act which deals with the three months notice of termination of employment applies to both the employer and the employee and should not exist to regulate a non-existent right.

The Supreme Court agreed with the conclusion of the Labour Court that Zuva Petroleum Private Limited was entitled at law to give notice terminating the employment of the appellants in terms of the contracts of employment between the parties.

Don Nyamande and Kingstone Donga were represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku and were challenging a Labour Court judgement delivered on the 28th of March 2014 allowing termination of their contracts on notice.

The appellants were paid three months salary in lieu of notice in May 2012 and their employments contracts terminated.

An arbitrator had ruled that the termination of their contracts was unlawful as the appellants had not been dismissed in terms of a code of conduct.