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‘This is hate speech’ – the constitutional court has spoken

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The Constitutional Court has handed down judgment in the case of Qwelane v South African Human Rights Commission and Another [2021] ZACC 22. This seminal judgment resolves the long-standing conundrum of: (i) whether or not section 10(1) of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (PEPUDA) is constitutional; and (ii) how the provision should be interpreted in the adjudication of hate speech complaints.

Effects of COVID-19 Block Exemption for the retail property sector

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On 23 April 2021, the Competition Commission published a notice in the Government Gazette in which it, inter alia, indicated that it had published its final non-confidential report of the commission’s findings on the impact of the COVID-19 Block Exemptions and the commission’s advocacy and enforcement work.

Increase to BCEA earnings threshold & minimum wages

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On 8 February 2021 the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thembelani Waltermade Nxesi, published a Government Gazette providing for the increase of the earnings threshold, as provided for in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA). The new earnings threshold will be R211,596.30 per annum with effect of 1 March 2021. 

Crypto assets – a new financial product? 

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On 20 November 2020, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) published a draft Declaration (Draft Declaration) and a statement in support thereof which sets out its proposal to bring crypto assets within the ambit of the definition of 'financial product' in Section 1 of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37 of 2002 (FAIS Act).

No enquiry before being fired – no problem!

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Labour relations and the fairness standards for dismissal of an employee in South Africa have long been centred around the formality of disciplinary or incapacity enquiry processes, and the tradition of the usage of these processes has built up an expectation that they are mandatory.  

Is the court a guardian or a nanny?

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The Broadcasting Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (BEMAWU) recently launched an urgent application in the Labour Court interdicting the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SOC) Ltd (SABC) from proceeding with retrenchment processes and forcing the SABC to adhere to fair consultation processes [BEMAWU & Others v SABC & Others, in the Labour Court of South Africa, Johannesburg, Case Number J1199/20]. 

You can’t just resign to avoid disciplinary hearing

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A common occurrence in the employment relationship is for an employee to resign in the face of disciplinary action by an employer, and South African courts have previously accepted that as long as an employee resigns with immediate effect, the employer has no power to compel the former employer to go through any disciplinary process.  

An employer cannot unilaterally change an employee’s retirement age

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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.

DMA vs LRA: what is considered an ‘essential service’ in strike...

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The issue is whether an essential service in terms of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) is deemed an essential service for the purposes of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), thus barring employees from engaging in protected strike action.

Freezing of clients’ account prohibited in certain circumstances

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The Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 38 of 2001 (FIC Act), places an obligation on accountable institutions to identify clients, to keep record of transactions, to report various transactions and to take measures to promote compliance with the provisions of the FIC Act. 

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