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Legal Opinion

Duty to disclose: What information is a trade union allowed to know?

The Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995 (LRA) states that employers have a duty to disclose any information, to trade union representatives, that will allow them to carry out their trade union duties and bargain effectively. Unfortunately, employers often fear this duty because they are afraid that it will allow trade union members to run wild in their organisations. Is this fear justified?


Misusing probation is costly

Many incorrectly believe probation gives them licence to fire a probationary employee on arbitrary grounds. However, the labour law meaning of probation is "testing the employee's work performance". If you misunderstand the purpose and legal meaning of a probationary period, you'll cause yourself and your employees serious problems.


Affirmative action laws: The SA black sheep

Affirmative Action

In South Africa, we're quite used to the idea of affirmative action laws being prescribed not only by our constitution but also, and more specifically, by schedule 3 of the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998). Many advocates of affirmative action laws frame their support of the policy in terms of diversity. South Africans don't have to be convinced of the necessity of a more diverse workforce - we readily accept that the number of people in top corporate positions aren't representative of our country's demographic. So why is there so much resistance to affirmative action laws?


Why isn’t business rescue legislation preventing job losses?

The continuing magnitude of job losses is a huge concern to all South Africans as high unemployment rates will continue to have a negative effect on the economy. A total of 36 290 jobs were lost in January 2014 but as of December 2013, liquidations in South Africa had decreased by 26.3% year-on-year when compared with the same period in 2012. If this is so, then one must question why we're seeing such high numbers of job losses when there are tools provided by business rescue legislation to assist.


Dressing to discriminate – corporate dress codes and discrimination

Rastafarian dress code

Discrimination is regulated by s6 of the Employment Equity Act, No 55 of 1998 (EEA), and prohibits both direct and indirect forms of discrimination in the employment arena. This also applies to how your employees dress.