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Government departments are abusing affirmative action! Here's how to ensure you're not guilty of the same thing

by , 19 November 2014
'The Public Service Commission says some government departments are abusing affirmative action by not filling posts when there are no qualified black candidates available,' City Press reports.

In the report, the commission's acting chairperson, Advocate Richard Sizani says, 'the notion of job reservation as part of affirmative action is not correct. It's not allowed, but it's happening and it's illegal.'

He added, 'it has never been the position of affirmative action that where there's no qualifying black candidate, you must not appoint an available white candidate if service delivery requires that post to be filled.'

These statements have cast the spotlight on the abuse of affirmative action. And this is serious because it means government is breaching the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

The good news is we can help you avoid the same fate as a designated employer.

Here's how to ensure you're not abusing affirmative action.

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There are 26 changes to the Employment Equity Act you must comply with in 2014...

If you don't comply with them, the DoL will be on your case.

In fact, the DoL could fine you 10% of your turnover or up to R2.7 million!

Discover how to check if you're complying with all of them to avoid crippling DoL fines.


Do this to ensure you're not abusing affirmative action

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service, affirmative action are measures meant to ensure people from designated groups, who are well qualified, are well represented in all levels and categories of employment in your workplace.
As a designated employer, you must have an affirmative action plan and policy. You must apply it when hiring and promoting employees.
Doing this correctly ensures there isn't any abuse going on.
And most importantly, it ensures that if anyone takes you to the CCMA for unfair discrimination, you can prove you were within your rights to follow your policy and plan.

To implement affirmative action correctly and in line with the EEA, you must:

  • Identify and eliminate employment barriers that affect people from designated groups. This includes unfair discrimination.
  • Apply measures to promote diversity in your workplace.
  • Make reasonable accommodation for people from designated groups to ensure they enjoy equal opportunities and are equitably represented in your workforce.
  • Retain and develop people from designated groups and implement appropriate training measures.
  • Promote skills development in line with the relevant legislation.
Remember, affirmative action isn't just about hiring a black candidate for the sake of it. You must make sure you're doing it in line with your affirmative action plan and policy and the candidate has the skill or you must have a plan to give him those skills.
Sizani sums it up nicely when he says, affirmative action had never 'promoted the principle that we must appoint people who are incompetent, who have no ability to do their job, who are not going to be efficient and appoint people because they are black. What it said was that you must appoint people who have ability, people who are going to be representative in terms of service, but also to redress the imbalances of the past.'
While government may get away with abusing affirmative action, you won't. So abuse it. Make sure you comply with what the EEA says about affirmative action.
PS: For more information on applying affirmative action in your company, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

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