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Many employers have placed their hopes of a return to the pre-COVID-19 workplace on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. South Africa is in the process of acquiring and rolling out vaccines, however, it seems that although people are encouraged to be immunised, no one will, at this stage, be legally required to take the vaccine.
Uber drivers are currently classified as independent contractors in South Africa, but there are plans to launch a class action to compel Uber SA to confer several key rights on its drivers, which, if successful, will affect the rights of platform workers.
In Legal Aid SA v Jansen (LAC), the employer appealed against the Labour Court’s decision whereby it held that the dismissal of the employee was automatically unfair in terms of section 187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and that he had been unfairly discriminated against in terms of section 6 of the Employment Equity Act, on the basis of him suffering from depression.
An employer cannot unilaterally change an employee’s retirement age. Should the employer do so and terminate the employee’s employment, the dismissal may constitute an automatically unfair dismissal and amount to unfair discrimination.
In a recent judgment, Gold One Limited v Madalani and Others (JR 1109/15)  ZALCJHB 180 (9 September 2020), the Labour Court confirmed that intolerability is a high threshold in constructive dismissal matters. Intolerability is more than a working environment or working under employment conditions that are difficult, unpleasant or stressful.
The Code Of Good Practice On The Protection Of Employees During Pregnancy And After The Birth Of A Child (The Code) is aimed at protecting pregnant and post-pregnant employees, and obliges employers to implement a series of appropriate measures to protect pregnant or breast-feeding employees from hazards at the workplace.
The pandemic brought with it a slew of realisations for business owners, one such an epiphany is how most organisations need fewer employees to remain functional. But using COVID-19 as a reason for retrenching a surplus of employees constitutes as unfair dismissal.
An employer may dismiss an employee if he or she has lodged a grievance against another employee which is false. Dismissing an employee for doing so does not amount to an automatically unfair dismissal because the lodging of a grievance is not the same as exercising a right conferred by law.
The law prohibits employers from disciplining employees who are ill or disabled. The Employment Equity Act prohibits unfair discrimination against employees on the grounds of illness. Section 187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) renders automatically unfair a dismissal implemented due to the employee’s illness.
The globe is on lockdown at the moment as we all face the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is a time which is creating a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty in the workplace. It is not just with people now having to work from home, but for those who have pursued new job opportunities and received job offers to start during or after lockdown, and now face a highly unnerving state of anxiety about if they will start or not or if their offers will be withdrawn or if they should even hand in their resignations.
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