Derivative Misconduct and Forms thereof: Western Refinery Ltd v Hlebela 2015 36 ILJ 2280 (LAC)


  • Tumo Charles Maloka Nelson R Mandela School of Law, University of Fort Hare, South Africa



Culpable non-disclosure, derivative misconduct, duty of good faith, collective misconduct, team misconduct, irregular wealth acquisition.


Western Platinum Refinery Ltd v Hlebela 2015 ZALAC 20 (“Hlebela”) required the Labour Appeal Court to grapple with difficult questions presented by generic dilemma which confronts an employer faced with clear evidence of recurrent theft of precious minerals, but is unable to identify the actual culprits, nor are the employees disposed or willing to co-operate with the employer in tracking down the perpetrator(s). Suddenly, the police informed the employer that an employee who had accumulated wealth was a person of interest in their investigations. However, they give no information about the employee being engaged, to their knowledge, in particular illegal activities.

Hlebela answered the nagging question: what is the appropriate way to discipline an employee who has actual knowledge of the wrongdoing of others or who has actual knowledge of information which the employee subjectively knows is relevant to unlawful conduct against the employer’s interests? The categorical answer is to charge the employee with material breach of the duty of good faith, particularising the knowledge allegedly possessed and alleging a culpable non-disclosure.


Google_Scholar_12060.png     ScienceOpen_Log034340.png


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...



Arup et al Labour Law

Arup C et al (eds) Labour Law and Labour Market Regulation: Essays on the Construction, Constitution and Regulation of Labour Markets and Work Relationships (Federation Press Sydney 2006)

Cameron 2004 SALJ

Cameron E "When Judges Fail Justice" 2004 SALJ 580-594

Collins 2001 ILJ (UK)

Collins H "Regulating the Employment Relation for Competitiveness" 2001 ILJ (UK) 17-48

Deakin and Wilkinson Law of the Labour Market

Deakin SF and Wilkinson F The Law of the Labour Market: Industrialization, Employment, and Legal Evolution (Oxford University Press Oxford 2005)

Epstein 1983 Yale LJ

Epstein R "A Common Law for Labour Relations: A Critique of the New Deal Legislation" 1983 Yale LJ 1357-1408

Grogan Dismissal

Grogan J Dismissal (Juta Cape Town 2002)

Klare 1981 Berkeley J Emp & Lab L

Klare K "Labour Law as Ideology: Toward a New Historiography of Collective Bargaining" 1981 Berkeley J Emp & Lab L 450-482

Klare 1985 Md L Rev

Klare K "Traditional Labour Law Scholarship and the Crisis of Collective Bargaining Law: A Reply to Professor Finkin" 1985 Md L Rev 731-840

Klare "Countervailing Workers' Power"

Klare K "Countervailing Workers' Power as a Regulatory Strategy" in Collins H, Davies P and Rideout RW (eds) Legal Regulation of the Employment Relation (Kluwer London 2000) 63-82

Le Roux 2011 CLL

Le Roux PAK "Group Misconduct: When Will Dismissal be a Fair Remedy for Employers?" 2011 CLL 101-109

Mitchell Redefining Labour Law

Mitchell R (ed) Redefining Labour Law: New Perspectives on the Future of Teaching Research (Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law Parkville 1995)

Okpaluba 1999 SALJ

Okpaluba C "Reinstatement in Contemporary South African Law of Unfair Dismissal: The Statutory Guidelines" 1999 SALJ 116-847

Okpaluba ''Current Issues of Fair Procedure"

Okpaluba C ''Current Issues of Fair Procedure in Employer's Disciplinary Enquiry I". Unpublished paper presented at the Workshop on Unfair Dismissals at the 12th Annual Labour Law Conference (30 June - 2 July 1999 Durban)

Rycroft 2012 ILJ

Rycroft A "The Intolerable Relationship" 2012 ILJ 2271-2287

Smit 2011 De Jure

Smit N "How Do You Determine a Fair Sanction? Dismissal as Appropriate Sanction in Cases for (Mis)conduct" 2011 De Jure 49-73

Stone 2001 UCLA L Rev

Stone K "The New Psychological Contract: Implications of the Changing Workplace for Labour and Employment" 2001 UCLA L Rev 519-661

List of cases

Chauke v Leeson Motors 1998 19 ILJ 1441 (LAC)

FAWU v ABI Ltd 1994 15 ILJ 1057 (LAC)

FEDCRAW and Snip Trading (Pty) Ltd 2001 22 ILJ 1945 (ARB)

Foschini Group v Maidi 2010 31 ILJ 1787 (LAC)

MAN Truck & Bus (SA) (Pty) Ltd v United African Motor & Allied Workers Union 1991 12 ILJ 181 (Arb)

Metro Cash & Carry Ltd v Tshehla 1997 1 BLLR 35 (LAC)

NSGAWU v Coin Security 1997 1 BLLR 85 (IC)

NUM v Besent, Grogan v RSA Geological Services (A Division of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd) 2010 ZALAC 12

NUM v Durban Deep Roodepoort Ltd 1987 8 ILJ 156 (IC)

NUM v RSA Geological Services (A Division of De Beers) 2004 25 ILJ 410 (ARB)

NUMSA v Vetsak Co-operative 1996 6 BLLR 697 (A)

RSA Geological Services (A Division of De Beers) v Grogan 2008 29 ILJ 406 (LC)

SACCAWU v Pep Stores 1998 19 ILJ 939 (CCMA)

SAMWU obo Abrahams v City of Cape Town 2011 11 BLLR 1106 (LC)

SATAWU v Collet Armed Security Services CC 2013 ZALCJHB 301

Stocklush (Pty) Ltd t/a Meadow Meats v FAWU obo Setouto 2015 ZALCCT 61

Tawusa obo Tau v Barplats Mine Ltd (Crocodile River Mine) 2009 30 ILJ 2791 (LC)

True Blue Foods Ltd t/a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) v CCMA 2015 2 BLLR 194 (LC)

Western Refinery Ltd v Hlebela 2015 36 ILJ 2280 (LAC)

Zondi v The President of the Industrial Court 1997 8 BLLR 984 (LAC)



How to Cite

Maloka, T. C. (2017). Derivative Misconduct and Forms thereof: Western Refinery Ltd v Hlebela 2015 36 ILJ 2280 (LAC). Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 19, 1–16.



Case Notes