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New bill makes it a priority for you to empower women in your workplace

by , 06 March 2014
Minister for Women Lulu Xingwana has welcomed the 5 March 2014 decision by the National Assembly to adopt a bill that seeks to promote gender equality and empower women in the workplace.
The bill aims to drive 50% representation of women in the workplace.
So the question is, are your employment policies going to be in line with this new bill (as well as the requirements of the employment equity laws)?

Screen your employment policies to spot these 17 potential areas of discrimination.

According to the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf, here's what to look for in each area of your employment policies.
  1. Age: You can't stipulate age requirements when advertising vacant posts unless the age of the applicant is an inherent requirement of the job.
  2. Beliefs: Your employees are entitled to have certain beliefs, as long as they doesn't interfere with their job.
  3. Birth: You can't not hire a person based on how or where they were born.
  4. Colour: It's unfair to discriminate against an applicant or employee purely because of her skin colour.
  5. Conscience: Always specify exactly what the employee will be required to do when you recruit.
  6. Disability: You must make a reasonable attempt to adapt the workplace to assist disabled people.
  7. Ethnic and social origin: You can't reject employees because they belong to the 'wrong' tribe, or the 'wrong' caste, or the 'wrong' clan, etc.
  8. Family responsibility: You can't discriminate against employees who have family responsibilities.
  9. Gender: It's unfair to discriminate against an applicant or employee because of their gender. Women are designated persons, so it's not unfair to prefer a female applicant, as long as she's suitably qualified.
  10. HIV status: You can't test employees and applicants to determine their HIV status unless the Labour Court has ruled that the test is justifiable because of an inherent requirement of a job.
  11. Language: You can't discriminate against employees because of their language, unless the ability to read, write or speak a particular language is an inherent requirement for a job.
  12. Marital status: You can't discriminate against an employee because he's single, married, separated, widowed or divorced.
  13. Political opinion: You can't reject an employee because of his political opinion, unless his political affiliation would affect his ability to perform in a particular job.
  14. Pregnancy: You can't discriminate against an employee who intends starting a family, or has terminated a pregnancy for whatever reason. It's also unfair to consider someone unsuitable for appointment or promotion merely because she's pregnant or breastfeeding.
  15. Race: While you can't discriminate unfairly against anyone because of their race, it's not considered unfair discrimination if you implement affirmative action measures.
  16. Religion: Your workplace must be accessible to people from all religions, provided they're suitably qualified and comply with the inherent requirements of the job.
  17. Sexual orientation: You can't discriminate if the person is a lesbian female, homosexual male or heterosexual male or female.
  18. If you can say your policies steer clear of these 17 discrimination hot-spots, then you'll get the thumbs up from the employment equity experts! 

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