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labour law

employees working together

An integral element of an employment relationship is the need for and the right of the employer and employee to trust each other. This is a two-way street and either party could forgo his/her right to continue the employment by destroying the trust relationship.

person using laptop

With the recent enforcement of the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) in South Africa, many businesses have been struggling with the logistics around getting PoPIA data protection agreements back from clients, legally signed. This puts organisations at exceptional risk and can result in various serious consequences. 

pregnant women

Pregnant employees are strongly protected under South African law. There are no fewer than six pieces of legislation that require employers to treat pregnant and post-pregnant employees with the greatest of care. One of these pieces of legislation is the Code Of Good Practice On The Protection Of Employees During Pregnancy And After The Birth Of A Child (The Code).

employee drinking at work

It is legally very dangerous for employers to discipline and fire employees  who commit offences due to illness or disability. For example, an employee who uses alcohol or narcotics and becomes addicted is legally classified as being ill and is protected by law.

labour dispute meeting

The Labour Relations Act of 1995 (LRA) makes it very easy for employees to challenge alleged unfair dismissals and other unfair practices at private or statutory dispute resolution forums. Such disputes may, by agreement, be dealt with via private (non-statutory) dispute resolution forums such as AMSA, AFSA, Tokiso and others. On the other hand the statutory dispute resolution forums established by the LRA include:

employers having a meeting

Due to the fact that some employers are unskilled in dealing both effectively and legally with poor performance or misconduct they look for other ways of getting rid of ‘troublesome employees. However, the law has made it clear that employers must use laid down corrective/disciplinary processes in such cases and are not allowed to misuse other methods such as retrenchments.

The legal procedures that an employer is required to follow in implementing dismissals for misconduct, retrenchments and poor work performance are all different. For instance, it is not normally acceptable to use the procedure laid down for retrenchments in order to deal with poor work performance. 

disciplinary-hearing

The purpose of workplace disciplinary hearings is to enable the chairperson of the hearing to hear, from both sides, evidence relating to the charges against the employee. Part of the hearing of evidence is the right of the opposing party to cross examine any evidence brought. At such hearings the parties present are normally:

outsourcing

The takeover of an entity or part thereof by a new owner or a new management often causes loss of jobs and employees are often desperate to stay on with the new enterprise. On the other hand, the new owner/management very often already has its own staff and wants to avoid the expense of taking on additional employees.

termination

What rights do employers have to discipline employees for misconduct perpetrated outside the workplace? While employers have very few rights under the Labour Relations Act (LRA) they do have the right to discipline and even to dismiss employees for work related misconduct. However, a dismissal will only be upheld by the CCMA, bargaining council or Labour Court where:

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