WORKPLACE VICTIMIZATION – ALSO IMPACTS THE EMPLOYER

WORKPLACE VICTIMIZATION – ALSO IMPACTS THE EMPLOYER

18 October 2017

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “Victimize” as intentionally treating someone in an unfair manner. As we are all very much aware in South Africa, unfair treatment can target race, sex, belief and any other number of grounds (as well as any arbitrary ground) according to section 6 of the amended Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998. But victimisation may also involve the spreading of malicious rumours, insulting or humiliating an employee, ensuring the employee is overloaded with work, constant exploitation of the employee or using obscene- or vulgar- or insulting language against an employee.

Section 186(e) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 considers a forced resignation to be a dismissal and, if the employee is able to prove he or she was victimised, the employee will have a solid basis for referring a constructive dismissal claim. In the case of Majatladi v Metropolitan Health Risk Management & Others (2013) 34 ILJ 3061 (LC), Majatladi claimed to have been constructively dismissed. She’d been told that it would not be in her interests to get into conflict with the company as doing so could affect her career, which would be unwise in such a small industry. The Court found that Majatladi had been intimidated on several occasions and that this indeed constituted constructive dismissal. She was awarded 6 months worth of salary as compensation.

As per Liana Meadon of FSB Business, 77.8% of South Africans reportedly experience some form of victimisation during their careers. Victimised employees are often found to have suffered a great deal and on a repeated- or ongoing basis. Victimized employees can find themselves subject to physical, mental and emotional abuse if employers are not vigilant or (worse) do not act to prevent victimization. This is an unenviable position, as claims for constructive dismissal are only the tip of the iceberg: a determined employee could drag a discrimination case into the Labour Court or even sue for damages in Civil Court.

In the case of Young v Coega Development Corporation (PTY) Ltd 2009 (6) SA 118 (ECP), Young was dismissed for “destroying the trust relationship”. The Court found that the dismissal amounted to victimisation because it came on the heels of Young reporting alleged wrongdoing by the CEO. Young was awarded reinstatement.

Employers should educate their employees and implement procedures to prevent workplace victimisation. The importance of complying with anti-discrimination statutes and of developing a work-culture of sensitivity and tolerance needs to be brought home to every employee and manager. Every company should implement an anti-victimisation policy and ensure it is properly explained during orientation. Immediate action should be taken against any employee who is suspected of breaking this policy.

Victimisation, whatever form it takes, should be seen as an unacceptable violation of the employee’s rights. In addition, it is an employee’s right to be treated with dignity and respect. Employers are legally bound to protect their employees from all kinds of harassment and failure to comply with this duty may result in the company being held directly liable under law.

LABOUR RELATIONS ACT 1995

BARGAINING COUNCIL FOR THE FOOD RETAIL, RESTAURANT, CATERING AND ALLIED TRADES: EXTENSION TO NON -PARTIES OF THE MAIN COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT

17 July 2017

I, MILDRED NELISIWE OLIPHANT, Minister of Labour, hereby in terms of section 32(2) read with section 32(5) and section 32(8) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, declare that the Collective
Agreement which appears in the Schedule hereto, which was concluded in the Bargaining Council for the Food Retail, Restaurant, Catering and Allied Trades, and is binding in terms of section 31 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995, on the parties which concluded the Agreement, shall be binding on the other employers and employees in that Industry with effect from the second Monday after the date of publication of this notice and for the period ending 30 April 2018.

Read more : National Regulation 47mb

VICARIOUS LIABILITY – EMPLOYERS ON THE HOOK

VICARIOUS LIABILITY – EMPLOYERS ON THE HOOK

12 May 2017

While most employers are, at least notionally, aware that the actions of their employees can be attributed back to them, many do not explore the reasons or limits of this idea. Its source is the legal doctrine of Vicarious Liability, which gives form to the Latin maxim: “qui facit per alium facit per se” interpreted as “he who acts through another, does the act himself”.

Read More : VICARIOUS LIABILITY EMPLOYERS ON THE HOOK

SHORT NOTICE WHAT’S AN EMPLOYER TO DO

SHORT NOTICE : WHAT’S AN EMPLOYER TO DO

MAY 2017

A new and disturbing trend is arising in the workplace: employees resign from their positions without affording the employer the proper notice period; or they disappear midway through their notice period. Often this leaves an employer high and dry, with important work to be done and no-one to do it.

Find out more : SHORT NOTICE WHATS AN EMPLOYER TO DO