Imperial Cleaning

Gabriel Burns

At the meeting Mr Lamberti requested her to go through her curriculum vitae and they talked about her career progression at the various entities where she had been employed, her personal background, education and family life. Financial Times Prentice Hall.

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Except for one Indian male, they were all white males. It is, therefore, undisputable that AMH, as far as its senior management was concerned, fared very badly in redressing the imbalances and wrongs of the past.

He said he did not know that it is necessarily racist, but it is not a warm embracing culture. Typically, at AMH head office, a lot of new junior staff were not white people and he said that they would probably find it a difficult culture to accept.

With regards to the hiring of senior people, he said that his view is that it is a very white male dominated group. He further told her that he did not see her having a career within the Imperial Group, because Mr Lamberti would be obstructive to it and that he Mr de Canha would give her a very good reference. Ms Chowan believed that she had exhausted all internal avenues available to her. In this regard she said the following when she testified: This letter was submitted to me in my capacity as the Imperial Group Chairperson.

Despite the fact that your letter does not follow the provisions of the Grievance Procedure itself, and therefore cannot be considered as part of it, the allegations are of a very serious and most troubling nature. It is therefore necessary that a proper and detailed investigation must take place, to determine the veracity and accuracy of your claims, and that it is only once this has been determined, that the Company will be able to decide an appropriate way forward.

You will shortly be contacted by a relevant Executive of AMH to advise you of the basis of such an investigation. Mr Lamberti reported to the board of directors of Imperial and Mr Gcabashe conceded that Ms Chowan could not report the matter to anyone else, apart from him, within the hierarchy — all others would have been junior to Mr Lamberti. Therein she essentially raised his comment to her that the colour of her car matches that of her skin and the issues which she had with his performance as CFO.

She concluded by stating that she sought the following through the grievance: The responsibilities between [herself] and the CFO be defined and his responsibilities are not passed onto [her].

The CFO gets more involved in the detail of the business and refrains from blaming [her] for things he does not understand, which is subsequently proved to be correct.

He goes on a management relationship course. Apologise and refrain from making any discriminatory comment, based on race, gender and ethnicity.

Immediately desist from undermining [her] in front of staff. It has therefore been decided that it would be most appropriate to suspend you from your normal duties, during the conduct of this investigation. I have noted that your allegations also involve your immediate line officer, Ockert Janse van Rensburg.

Under these circumstances, and the undoubted difficulties and tensions that they will cause, it is my considered opinion that this is the best step to take. The purpose of this letter is therefore to inform you that you are suspended from your duties with immediate effect.

Should you wish to bring any reasons to the attention of the Company, as to why you should not be suspended, you may make written representations to me, Otto Koornof in this regard. Such representations should be made before close of business on Monday the 22 nd June Furthermore, no plausible explanation could be proffered for suspending her prior to giving her the opportunity to make representations as to why she should not be suspended. And Mr Koornhof was not called as a witness.

Ms Chowan testified that on 18 June , she was marched out of the premises by Mr Koornhof, her laptop and office keys were taken from her and other employees could hear the conversation. Ms Chowan responded to the invitation to furnish reasons why she should not be suspended pending the investigation in a letter addressed to Mr Koornhof, which she submitted to him on 22 June , but there was no positive outcome for her and she remained suspended.

A senior associate of that firm, Ms Merlisha Haripal, was mandated to conduct the investigation. Her report on the interviews was placed before me as part of the exhibits. On 24 June , she interviewed Mr Koornhof. She inter alia reported: Otto said that he mentioned to Mark that he already had good insight into the issues.

Mark then gave Otto the letters and asked if he had any comment or concerns. Otto said that he mentioned that there could be a problem around the suspension because in terms of the law, they would need to give her an opportunity to defend herself before she was suspended.

Otto said that Mark phoned Andrew Levy in that meeting and Andrew felt that it was not going to be a problem. Andrew advised that if Adila had a problem with the suspension, she could raise it in writing. The other concern that Otto had was whether she might object against handing in her laptop as he was worried that there would be a confrontation in the office as she may have personal information on the laptop.

Otto said that Mark said that if that happened, he was to get security to escort Adila off the premises. Furthermore, the question raised by Ms Chowan when she testified about the independence of the investigation in the light of the fact that the same firm which advised Mr Lamberti on her suspension had been appointed to conduct her grievance investigation, remains unanswered.

The report of the investigation does not contain any findings nor recommendations. The investigator also addressed that board meeting. I also refer to your letter which although dated 22 nd May , was handed to Otto Koornhof on 18 th June immediately after he informed you of your suspension.

Since the matters clearly had common links, as you are aware, after consultation with the Nominations Committee of Imperial Holdings Limited, I gave instructions that the allegations in your letters be investigated by an independent outside party. This examination has now concluded, and the statements are delivered herewith for your reference. I am satisfied that your allegations are completely without foundation in fact, and are devoid of substance. However, this does not mean that this is the end of the matter.

As your actions constitute misconduct and an abuse of the grievance procedure, it has been decided to institute the disciplinary procedure. Disciplinary charges will be drawn up and issued to you by an AMH executive within a matter of days. Furthermore, the CEO of AMH, Mr de Canha, at the very least, acquiesced tacitly consented to Ms Chowan following the procedure to direct her grievance to the chairperson of the Imperial Group, that board being the only entity to which Mr Lamberti reports.

Also, it was not Ms Chowan who directed her grievance against Mr Janse van Rensburg to Mr Gcabashe nor did she request that it be investigated in the same way as her grievance against Mr Lamberti. On 30 July , the disciplinary charges were served on Ms Chowan.

The disciplinary hearing was held on 26 and 27 August I have already referred to certain unsatisfactory features in the evidence of Mr Janse van Rensburg. A few examples, which adversely impact on the credibility of Mr de Canha, suffice: And in answer to a question from Ms Chowan during the disciplinary hearing, Mr da Canha answered her: So are you prepared to change your answer … [intervenes] No, I am not going to change my answer.

Okay, so you stick by your answer that you are not aware that Peter Hibbit made a recommendation for Adila to hold the position? Furthermore, the failure to call material witnesses, such as Messrs Lamberti and Koornhof, who were available, warrants an adverse inference in all the circumstances. By contrast, Ms Chowan was a singularly impressive witness.

She, in my view, is a credible witness and her evidence is reliable. The objects of the PDA, in terms of s 2 1 thereof, are: First, so he argues, she lodged a grievance which did not contain a bona fide disclosure of any impropriety. Second, she did not do so in the reasonable belief of its truthfulness. I cannot agree with these submissions for the reasons that follow. BerlinskiBeat veröffentlichte das Album Gassenhauer.

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