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The CCMA says the number of discrimination cases has doubled since the EE Act came into effect last year!

by , 02 February 2015
The amended Employment Equity Amendment Act (EE Act) came into effect in August last year.

With these changes, the Act now allows the CCMA to arbitrate in discrimination cases. This means employees who earn below the annual earnings threshold (R205 433.30) can refer discrimination cases to arbitration.

And employees are taking advantage of this.

Last week, CCMA director, Nerine Kahn reported that the number of discrimination cases has doubled since the EE Act came into effect in August.

'We had 63 cases of discrimination on race, six of gender, six of religion, 13 of disability and a couple of HIV ones,' she said in a Times Live report.

In many of these cases, employees won.

To avoid becoming another CCMA statistic, we're giving you three tips you can use to eliminate unfair discrimination in your workplace.

Read on to find out what they are...

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Don't let the new Employment Equity amendments be the reason the DoL comes after you

There are still many employers who don't know exactly what the new 26 amendments are or even how to apply them.

If you employ more than 50 people or if your turnover is over the Employment Equity Act threshold for your industry, you need to comply with each and every one of them.

Click here to find out what you need to do to comply and avoid penalties from the DoL


Do away with unfair discrimination with these three tips

Tip #1: Check your policies and procedures as well as practices
The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management says unfair discrimination is when you unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against any employee on one of these grounds:
  1. Age;
  2. Belief;
  3. Birth;
  4. Conscience;
  5. Colour;
  6. Culture;
  7. Disability;
  8. Ethnic or social origin;
  9. Family responsibility;
  10. Gender;
  11. HIV status;
  12. Political opinion;
  13. Pregnancy;
  14. Language;
  15. Marital status;
  16. Race;
  17. Religion;
  18. Sex; and
  19. Sexual orientation.
To eliminate unfair discrimination, check all your policies and practices to make sure they don't discriminate based on these 19 areas. This includes your recruitment policy, dismissal policy, etc.
Tip #2: Have a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to sexual discrimination
In the Times Live report, Kahn says one case they had to deal with involves a woman who had to put up with three incidents of sexual harassment (also a form of unfair discrimination). The situation forced her to resign. At the CCMA, she won an order for constructive dismissal and damages for medical expenses.
To eliminate this form of unfair discrimination, have a sexual harassment policy and make it clear to your employees you don't tolerate this behavior.
In addition, have a procedure employees can follow to report sexual harassment. This way, you can deal with the issue quickly.
Tip #3: Pay your employees a fair wage
The other change that came with the EE Act is there must be 'equal pay for equal work.'
This means, you mustn't discriminate when you pay salaries. Employees who do the same work must get similar pay irrespective of race, gender, belief and so on, unless there's a valid reason for the differences.

Failure to eliminate unfair discrimination won't only land you at the CCMA, it could get you huge fines too

The EE Act is against unfair discrimination and wants you to eliminate it.
If the DoL finds out you discriminate in your workplace, it could charge you penalties of up to R2.7 million or 10% of your turnover. Add that to employees taking you to the CCMA and you could face bankruptcy.
PS: For more tips on how to eliminate unfair discrimination, check out the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

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