Ignoring CCMA Judgements A Risky Gamble For Companies



When it comes to labour disputes, companies who choose to ignore a judgement handed down by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) do so at their peril.



According to Section 143 of the Labour Relations Act, an arbitration award certified by the CCMA holds the weight of a decree from the Labour Court, making it legally binding.

Dismissing CCMA awards as inconsequential is a dangerous move for employers, says Nicol Myburgh, Head: HCM Business Unit at CRS Technologies.

Failing to comply with these directives can prompt the employee to seek recourse, which can swiftly ensnare the business in prolonged and costly legal quagmires, and may ultimately lead to its eventual downfall.

“For example, if an employer chooses to disregard a ruling to reinstate an employee it had previously dismissed, the employee has the right to apply to the CCMA for certification of the award.

“If the employer continues to defy the CCMA judgement, the employee is entitled to approach the Labour Court to initiate contempt of court proceedings, further exacerbating the legal jeopardy faced by the non-compliant company.

Additionally, if the ruling included a monetary sum, the employee is entitled to hand the certified award directly to the Sheriff of the Court to seize assets belonging to the defaulting employer to pay the compensation.

Companies who try to circumvent or brush aside the authority of CCMA rulings are wasting their time – and money, Myburgh continues.

“It's crucial to understand that these rulings are tantamount to court orders and must be treated as such.”

Rather go the preventative route

While seeking assistance from legal professionals such as criminal or civil defence or attorneys can be pivotal for companies embroiled in such situations, Myburgh points out that most CCMA cases can be prevented, or at the very least minimised.

This is where a seasoned outsourced HR services provider such as CRS can prove invaluable. Most business professionals are not experts in labour law or human rights, but CRS excels in HR and industrial relations and can help companies gain the upper hand over labour issues.

“Rather than allow your business to become entangled in a legal battle, our consultants can provide valuable guidance on navigating the complexities of CCMA rulings.”

To safeguard their company's interests and reputation, it is imperative for businesses to recognise the authority of CCMA judgments and take proactive steps to ensure compliance, thus avoiding costly legal entanglements in the future, Myburgh concludes.

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