In today's day and age, technology plays a vitally important role in business. And did you know that you can enter into an employment contract with a prospective employee via SMS or email?
In the case of Jafta v Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (D204/07)  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, there are six important points to know when entering into a contract electronically.
1. You can enter into contracts via SMS or email;
2. You still have the right to decide on what formalities apply to all of your contracts;
3. If you don't want an SMS or email to be legally binding, then you need to specifically say so;
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?
4. If you don't exclude them, then the Electronic Communications Transactions Act will apply;
5. Anyone who claims a contract is in place has to prove so; and
6. An offer and an acceptance of such an offer counts as an employment contract.
So there are six important points that you should keep in mind with regard to electronic employment contracts.
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