Settling a dispute at the CCMA can be a good way to resolve any problems between an employer and employee. However, it often happens that both parties are willing to resolve the matter amicably before proceeding with a CCMA case.
In any CCMA matter, it is the employer who would make a settlement offer to the employee. It is solely at the discretion of the employee, whether he/she accepts the offer.
1. Costs connected to proceeding with a dispute:
A settlement is most certainly the most inexpensive way to resolve a matter, even before it has fully started at the CCMA. What an employee or employer might sometimes forget, is that going to the CCMA can become a very costly experience.
Attorneys are not always allowed to enter chambers with the employee. Employers/employees must also remember that they can attend to their matters on their own.
The question of hiring an attorney comes in when the dispute is very complex and the employer/employee might feel that they cannot handle the extent of the dispute without legal advice.
As an employer/employee, one needs to ask yourself whether it is better to resolve a matter outside of the CCMA, or if they are willing to proceed with legal action.
2. Are you as the employer able to comply with the offer made?
Before entering into any settlement agreement, you must ensure that you can comply with the offer made to the employee.
A settlement agreement is binding and if the employer does not comply, the employee may take the necessary steps to ensure that the settlement agreement is complied with.
It is advisable that before attending the CCMA you need to consider all feasible options.
As the employer, you can make the following offers:
- Reinstatement, with back-pay;
- A monetary settlement;
- Providing the employee with a monetary settlement.
3. As the employee, are you fully satisfied with the settlement agreement?
As stated, a settlement agreement is binding. Therefore, before an employee enters into a settlement agreement they need to be sure that they are satisfied with said settlement agreement.
It might happen that you as an employee are unsure of whether you must accept the offer made by the employer. If this happens, it is always good to seek the advice of an attorney.
An attorney in this regard can advise you on whether the offer made by the employer is an acceptable offer.
You make the final decision and you are in no way obligated to accept a settlement offer made by the employer.
If you accept the settlement offer, it means that it is the full and final settlement of the dispute between the parties. This means that you cannot change your mind a week later if you are unhappy with the settlement.
Therefore, always be 100% sure before you accept any settlement offer made.