Labour Law Blog

Both employer and employee are lawfully entitled to record conversations between themselves in the workplace.

Employers and/or employees are entitled to secretly record conversations in the workplace, such as general meetings and disciplinary hearings. These recordings can be made without the consent of the other party, in terms of the Rica Act. An employee may record workplace conversations between him/her and the employer especially when the employer has a history of misconstruing the truth. Having evidence in the form of audio recordings shall avoid disputes of facts […]

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When can an employer dismiss an employee for incompatibility?

An employer is entitled to ensure that his employees work in a harmonious working environment. Incompatibility relates to an employee’s inability to maintain a cordial and harmonious relationship with his/her colleagues or owners of the business. It results in an irretrievable breakdown in the employment relationship, caused by the employee. The employer has a duty to engage with the employee to ascertain the reasons for the incompatibility, properly counsel the […]

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Posting of inappropriate comments by employee on social media about employer or colleagues

When an employee posts defamatory comments on social media in his/her personal capacity, either during or outside of the employer’s working hours, using either his/her private or company resources, the employer has the right to discipline the employee as it has a prejudicial effect on the employment relationship. However, the employer must ensure that it affords the employee the right to make representations as to whether he/ she is guilty […]

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Is the person to whom you report to at the workplace a psychopath?

Psychopathy is traditionally a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, disinhibited and egotistical traits. A psychopath can seem quite normal and even charming but their normalcy is a mere façade. A psychopath lacks a conscience and empathy thus leading him/her to be calculating, manipulative and impulsive. The corporate psychopath or narcissist can often cause work-related depression, anxiety disorders, burnout, work-related stress that accounts for more than […]

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Don’t lie about your qualifications, face up to 5 years in prison

Job Seekers and prospective students who submit fraudulent qualifications or misrepresent their credentials face up to 5 years in prison in terms of a tough new law criminalising presenting falsified certificates. President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Act 2019 into law on Monday 19 August 2019. Five-year sentences, unspecified fines or both will be handed to individuals found guilty of making false  entries in the national […]

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Horseplay in the workplace

Horseplay can refer to any unsafe act that is caused by an individual and usually it is seen as “it’s all in the name of fun”. These unsafe acts include but are not limited to:   Pranks Practical Jokes Unauthorized competitions/contests Harassment Damage of company property Intoxication (Year-end functions, Team Building) Poor vehicle operation Unsafe Acts as a result of fooling around.     Horseplay is an activity that usually […]

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Issuing of written warnings

According to the Code of Good Practice, the courts have endorsed the concept of corrective or progressive discipline. Efforts should be made to correct an employee’s behaviour through a system of graduated disciplinary measures such as issuing of related warnings. The normal rule relating to the use of past warnings is that the offence for which the employee is dismissed should be similar to the offences for which the employee […]

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Can the refusal of new T&Cs of Employment Result in dismissal?

Can an employer dismiss employees because they refuse to agree to a change to their terms and conditions of employment? An employer, in the context of a retrenchment exercise, may dismiss employees for refusing to accept a change to terms and conditions of employment, provided of course that the employer can demonstrate that there is a genuine operational need to change terms and conditions of employment; that there is no […]

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Requirements for employees who work night shift

An employer may only require or permit an employee to perform night work, if so agreed, and if—   (a) the employee is compensated by the payment of an allowance, which may be a shift allowance, or by a reduction of working hours; and   (b) transportation is available between the employee’s place of residence and the workplace at the commencement and conclusion of the employee’s shift.   The Basic […]

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Inconsistency – not determinative in establishing unfair dismissal

Once an employer is shown to have acted inconsistently by dismissing one employee while not another who committed the same or similar misconduct, the prevalent view is that it automatically follows that the employee’s dismissal is substantively unfair. Indeed, in accordance with the parity principle, element of consistency on the part of an employer in its treatment of employees is an important factor to take into account in the determination […]

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