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In terms of Section 23 of the Constitution: Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.  It is possible to seek redress if you are a victim of an unfair labour practice at your place of employment.

Residual Unfair Labour Practices

Any unfair act or omission that arises between an employer and an employee, involving –

(a)            the unfair discrimination, either directly or indirectly, against an employee on the grounds of race, colour, gender, sex, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, family responsibility or marital status or any other arbitrary ground;

(b)            the unfair conduct by an employer relating to the promotion, demotion or training of an employee or the provision of benefits to an employee;

(c)            the unfair suspension of an employee or any other disciplinary action short of dismissal in respect of an employee;

(d)            the failure or refusal of an employer to reinstate or re-employ a former employee in terms of an agreement.

A defence to certain claims of discrimination can be:

(a)            an employer is not prevented from adopting or implementing employment policies and practices that are designed to achieve the adequate protection and advancement of persons or groups of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination, in order to enable their full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms;

(b)            any discrimination based on an inherent requirement of the particular job does not constitute unfair discrimination.  

Compensation for unfair labour practices

The powers of an arbitrator to determine unfair labour practice disputes are currently unclear. An amendment to section 193 of the Act places a limitation of twelve months remuneration on any arbitration award in which compensation is granted.


In the case of unfair labour practice disputes, employees will be required to refer these within 90 days of the perpetration of the unfair labour practice or 90 days from becoming aware of the unfair labour practice. (Employees whose contracts are terminated with notice may refer disputes to conciliation during their notice period.) 

Disputes over an unfair labour practice must be referred immediately to the CCMA/ Bargaining Council.  Should you need assistance, call Labour Protect on 0860 522687 and you will be automatically routed to the nearest labour expert on the network... 

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