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Four common law requirements for accepting an electronic employment contract

by , 16 September 2015
Technology plays a very important role in the world today. And business is no exception!

Did you know you can enter into employment contracts through SMS and email?

In the case of Jafta v Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (D204/07) [2008] ZALC 84 (1 July 2008), the Labour Court said that while SMSs and emails may seem informal, 'treating them as having no legal effect would be a mistake.'

From this case, it was stated that:

• You can enter into contracts via SMS or email;
• You still have the right to decide on what formalities apply to all of your contracts;
• If you don't want an SMS or email to be legally binding, then you need to specifically state so; etc.

Now, in addition to that information, it is important for you to also know what the four common law requirements are for accepting an employment offer via electronic media.

They are:


Make sure your policies, forms and contracts are legally correct every time

Can you answer these questions?

Does your chairman cover all the necessary points when chairing a disciplinary hearing?
Are your employment contracts up-to-date and do they include the minimum law requirements?
Do you have all the relevant documentation to win your case if a dispute arises with an employee?
Have you given all your past employees a certificate of service?
1. Be clear, unequivocal and unambiguous; 
2. Correspond with the employment offer made on both the time and the terms laid out for acceptance.
3. Be made in the way that is prescribed by the party making the offer. 
4. Be communicative with the party making the offer. 

So, keep those four common law requirements in mind and never falter when it comes to electronic employment contracts. 

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