Need Legal Advice?

No Matter What Your Bind We Can Help You



Unfair Labour Practice

Section 185 of the Labour Relations Act addresses unfair labour practices in South Africa and defines it as deceitful or discriminating acts or omissions that occur between an employee and employer.

Labour Law South Africa

The South African labour laws offer employees protection from unfair practice, mistreatment and discrimination.

However, an employee will need to provide substantial proof that the conduct of the employer falls under one of the following guidelines as stipulated by the Department of Labour.

These guidelines are as follows:

  • “The unfair conduct of the employer relating to the promotion, demotion or training of an employee or relating to the provision of the benefits to an employee”

For example, an organisation denies an employee a promotion based on his or her race, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. The employee will have to prove that there is no reasonable explanation from the employer as to why the promotion was not given to him or her

  • “The unfair suspension of an employee or any other disciplinary action short of dismissal in respect of an employee”

For example, an employee has been suspended for an unreasonable or disproportionate amount of time and there is no plausible reason for the delay in finalising the disciplinary enquiry

  • “The failure or refusal of an employer to reinstate or re-employ a former employee in terms of any agreement”

For example, an employer retrenches an employee with a contract in place that states that employee will be re-employed should the same position become available after retrenchment and the employer hires someone else instead

  • “An occupational detriment, other than dismissal, in contravention of The Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 200, on account of an employee having made a protected disclosure as defined in the Act”

For example, an employee is discriminated against for coming forward to expose a colleague who is suspected of illegal activity

Dealing with Unfair Labour Practice

Resolving matters of unfair labour practice within the organisation is possible but, in some cases, can prove to be challenging.

If the company’s Human Resources department is unable to resolve the complaint, and all other channels have failed, an application to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) must be made. This must be done within 90 days of the alleged accusation of unfair labour practice.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated - Labour Law South Africa

The Labour Relations Act serves to protect both employees and employers from unfair labour practices and unsubstantiated accusations.

For expert, legal assistance with unfair labour practice in South Africa, and to find out more about the relevant legislation, please contact us.