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Labour law – what is reasonable?

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The concept of reasonableness has a strong subjective element. For instance, a salary increase of 50 % might seem reasonable to me if I have been earning a lot less than my colleagues. However, if my employer is reluctant to establish a precedent of granting such large increases, then demanding such a significant raise may not be considered reasonable from their perspective.

Potential retrenchees entitled to representation

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The law makes it compulsory for employers to consult with the potential retrenchees or with their representatives before deciding to retrench. Despite this, employers often refuse to allow the employees to bring external representatives to the consultation meetings.

Bias of presiding officers must be proven

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The law affords employees the following procedural rights before being dismissed for misconduct or poor performance:

Faulty suspensions can hang employers

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Employers regularly suspend employees from duty. This is done in a variety of circumstances for numerous reasons that may include one form of suspension is a temporary lay-off of employees due to operational circumstances.

Beware cancelling concluded employment contracts

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The courts have found that the employee is protected by labour law from the moment the employment contract is concluded even if the employee has not yet started work. For example, in the case of Wyeth SA (Pty) Ltd vs Manqele (People Dynamics, September 2003 page 39). Manqele was offered a position by the employer as a sales rep.

Workplace rebellions can wreak havoc

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Workplace rebellion can bring the company to its knees. The most typical form of rebellion known in South Africa is industrial action. Such rebellion...

Dirty hands will be caned at CCMA

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In common law employers and employees have the obligation to treat each other fairly and within the law.

Don’t miss the arbitration hearing!

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Where the employer fails to attend an arbitration hearing the arbitrator is entitled to continue without the employer unless the arbitrator is aware of an acceptable reason for the employer’s absence.

Retrenchment – the duty to consult

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Before making any decision to retrench employers are required to first consult with the union or affected employees on a number of issues, the most important of which is any means of avoiding job losses.

Delay discipline unnecessarily at your peril

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The intolerability of the continuation of the employment relationship can be caused by misconduct other than dishonesty.

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