Labour Law Blog

FAIR DISCIPLINARY HEARING

Audi alteram partem, literally, ‘hear the other side’, principle must be applied in the employment context. This means that employers cannot take disciplinary action against employees without affording them a fair hearing. SUMMARY After the charge is investigated, the employee is normally served with a notice of a hearing, setting out the charge the employee is required to answer, and informing the employee of the time and place of the […]

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UNFAIR DISCRIMINATION AT WORK

About Unfair Discrimination at Work No person may unfairly discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language or birth. For further information on any labour related matters, you can contact Bernard Reisner: […]

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FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

Every employee therefore has the right to join – or not to join a union, and if the employee does join a union, to participate in its lawful activities. This right extends to ‘every employee’, including applicants for employment. It follows that no employer may forbid an employee to join a trade union on any ground, even if membership of a trade union is incompatible with the employee’s status or […]

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EMPLOYERS NEED TO PROVE A BREACH OF TRUST

If an employer is dishonest in the workplace, it can cause a breakdown in the trust relationship between the employee and the employer. However, it is essential that the employer convene a disciplinary hearing to prove that the employee’s dishonesty caused a breakdown in the trust relationship. It is not good enough for employers to simply say there has been a breach of trust. The employer has to lead evidence […]

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SUSPENSION FROM WORK

An employer who suspects an employee is guilty of misconduct can hold a disciplinary hearing to establish whether or not the employee is guilty and, if he is, to decide on an appropriate penalty. However, sometimes it takes time to properly investigate the incident. If the issues are serious, employers may want to suspend the employee pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. There are minimum standards to ensure fair […]

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EMPLOYERS’ RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAFETY OF STAFF

We have seen many cases recently where sexual harassment of one staff member by another has led to a successful claim against the employer. This concept obviously can go one step further in that the physical, emotional and psychological safety of your staff is often the responsibility of the employer. It becomes the employer’s responsibility if the staff point out imminent danger. We see in the current press that ambulance […]

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ABSENTEEISM AND DESERTION

When it comes to absenteeism and desertion, one of the principal obligations of an employee to a contract of employment is to render his / her services to the employer, from the agreed date and for the duration of the contract. This obligation requires that the employee present himself / herself at his / her place of work during the times specified in the contract. Any unauthorized absence (no medical […]

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WHEN ARE SALARY DEDUCTIONS ALLOWED?

The employer is obliged to comply with the labour law requirements of substantive and procedural fairness first before it may be in a position to lawfully recover monies from you that are not regulated by statute. Salary Deductions: Section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act No 75 of 1997 provides that: • An employer may not make any deductions from an employee’s remuneration unless: a) Subject to subsection […]

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The Training Layoff Scheme

What is a training layoff? A training layoff is a temporary suspension of work of a worker or group of workers that is used for training purposes; workers remain employed during the training layoff period and are paid a training allowance; participation in the training layoff scheme is voluntary and is an alternative to retrenchment; training is flexible but linked to the skills needs of the employer; the scheme is […]

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EMPLOYERS RIGHT TO CHANGE EMPLOYEES BENEFITS

It is a myth that an employer may not amend the terms and conditions of employment. We have many queries from our clients asking us whether medical aid, car allowances, travel allowances, etc. can be changed. These changes can take place if the employer can show that there is a good reason for the change and if the employer can also show that there has been a properly constituted discussion […]

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