Charging employees with “time theft” might be problematic

SA Metal Group dismissed a cleaner when she was found guilty of “theft of company time” for having spent time ostensibly cleaning a kitchen that no one was allowed to use after the employer had implemented COVID-19 rules. A CCMA commissioner found on 4 May 2021 that the respondent had failed to prove that the […]

Conduct away from the workplace can lead to dismissal

The Labour Court recently handed down a judgment in the matter of Nhlanhla Christopher Makhoba and the CCMA (September 2021) in which the Court addressed a number of interesting issues. The applicant was dismissed for having posted a racist comment, ‘Whites mz b all killed’, on his Facebook page. Following his disciplinary hearing he was […]

A disciplinary code is not cast in stone

There is a general perception that disciplinary codes as well as the Code of Good Practice: Dismissal, contained in Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), are cast in stone and cannot be deviated from. This is not so. Both constitute guidelines only and employers can deviate from it and from their own disciplinary […]

Every COVID –19 arbitration turns on its own facts

It is now trite that the Regulations issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act require employees who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or who has personally experienced COVID –19 symptoms, must go for a test and self-isolate while waiting for the result. It is equally trite that deliberately exposing others […]

Spreading fake COVID–19 information could attract criminal charges

It was widely reported in March 2020 that Regulation 5 of the Disaster Management Act Regulations provided that “anyone that creates or spreads fake news about COVID-19 is liable for prosecution”. If found guilty of spreading such false information with the intention to deceive, the penalty would be a fine or imprisonment for six months, […]

Excluding the unvaccinated from public amenities is fair discrimination

The Bill of Rights provides that everyone is equal before the law and that this equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. The Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, announced on 2 September 2021 that the government hoped to put into place a plan in terms of which everyone who has […]

COVID-19 protocols impose obligations on employees

Deep into its second devastating year, daily reports from different parts of the world show that it is well-nigh impossible to control the rapid pace at which the latest COVID-19 variant, known as the Delta variant, is spreading. It is a fact that the developing law has been and still is outpaced by the coronavirus. […]

Employers’ rights when coping with COVID-19 at the workplace

The facts show that the world is in the grip of COVID-19. Since 27 March 2020 some employers have had no choice but to close their doors for periods during the height of the coronavirus waves. Others were compelled to place employees on leave or to allow some employees to work from home. Meetings were […]

Right to refuse a vaccination is not cast in stone

Governments worldwide face the same dilemma: Do existing human rights prevent them from compelling their citizens to be vaccinated via legislation? There is much uncertainty as to whether the Directions which were issued in June 2021 entitle South African employers to introduce mandatory vaccination at the workplace, as the Bill of Rights states at s […]

No legal requirement yet for mandatory vaccinations

There has been much controversy since the Minister of Employment and Labour issued the revised Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces (the “Directions”) on 11 June 2021. In some quarters these Directions have been interpreted to mean that employers are now entitled by law to subject employees and independent contractors to […]