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You can discriminate against employees... And avoid paying millions!

by , 10 March 2016
With all the recent hype in the media about racism and unfair discrimination, I know you're cringing at the penalties of R2.7 million or 10% of your turnover, you could face for discrimination!

But what if I told you there are times you can discriminate? Well, there are.

You just need to bear in mind, it still has to be for fair reasons... So let's see when you can fairly discriminate...

***Labour law***
Need to know more about fair and unfair discrimination?

We recently updated The Labour Law for Managers Handbook and with the hefty penalties to DoL can dish out, you don't want to be guilty of unfair discrimination in the workplace!

Use tour A-Z guide to make sure you don't have to fork out millions for discrimination.

Still not a subscriber? You can be…

So let's look at when discrimination would be fair

It's only fair to discriminate employees when it's an inherent requirement of the job… Let's see how:

1. The EEA doesn't mention physical appearance. But you can hire attractive people over others purely because of their looks if it's an inherent requirement of the job to be good-looking.  For example:
o    Models;
o    Promoters of beauty and health products etc.

2. Believe it or not, there are exceptions when it comes to discriminating for skin colour.
For example, you're looking for someone to promote skin-lightening products. You can choose a black person with light skin, because it's an inherent requirement of the job.

3. Some employees may refuse to do certain tasks because of their belief or conscience. For example, carrying a gun or objecting to serve alcohol. And while they're free to follow their beliefs, it can't interfere with their jobs. So make sure he knows that serving alcohol or carrying a gun is a condition of employment.

4.  And lastly… Giving designated groups preference is 'fair discrimination'. As long as it is in line with Employment Equity and Affirmative Action.

Just make sure you don't unfairly discriminate…
Don't let the 26 new Employment Equity amendments be the reason the DoL comes after you

The 26 amendments are so new, not many businesses know exactly what the 26 amendments are or even how to apply them.

But, 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.

Now 26 changes is a big task. And that's why FSP Business has teamed up with Employment Equity expert Janine Nieuwoudt to help you implement the new amendments to the Employment Equity Act in your company today...

When is something unfair?

A decision or action is unfair when your actions:
-    Infringe on the employee's entrenched rights
-    Are one-sided;
-    Unnecessary; and/ or
-    Inappropriate under the circumstances.

Unfair discrimination can take many forms. For example, where you overlook an employee for a promotion because he's disabled could be unfair discrimination.

So there you have it, there are some instances when you can discriminate… Just make sure your reasons are fair and you can back them up!

P.S. Make sure none of your employment contracts and policies discriminate… Use our sample templates…

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