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Which disputes does Labour Court deal with?

by , 22 October 2013
If your employee decides to take legal action against your company, you could end up in the Labour Court. Read on to find out about the type of disputes the Labour Court deals with so you can be sure about what goes on at the Court.

According to Justice.gov.za, the 'Labour Court has the same status as a high court. It adjudicates matters relating to labour disputes.'

But before your employee goes to the Labour Court, he must first refer his dispute to the appropriate bargaining council or the CCMA. There, a conciliating Commissioner will attempt to assist both parties, by means of mediation, to resolve the dispute, explains the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

If conciliation fails, your employee can then refer the matter to the Labour Court.

But your employee can only refer to the Labour Court matters relating to:

  1. Unfair retrenchment
  2. Strikes
  3. Refusal to accept an employer's demands regarding a matter of interest
  4. The employee exercising his rights in terms of the Labour Relations Act
  5. Pregnancy
  6. A transfer of a business as a going concern
  7. A breach of the 'Whistle Blower' Act

Dismissals relating to other issues (not mentioned above) are referred to the CCMA for arbitration, not the Labour Court.

How much power does the Labour Court have?

The Labour Court has the power to:

  • Grant applications for orders and for urgent interdicts against trade unions embarking on illegal strikes.
  • Grant orders for costs.
  • Hear allegations against employers required to implement affirmative action.
  • Set aside any award granted by an Arbitrator at the CCMA or bargaining council by means of review proceedings. This means 'you may refer any arbitration award to the Labour Court for review if you can show that the Arbitrator 'misconducted' himself,' says the Loose Leaf Service.

The Labour Court can also order you to:

  • Reinstate an unfairly dismissed employee
  • Pay the employee compensation up to a maximum of 24 months' remuneration in certain cases
  • Stop discriminating against employees
  • Comply with affirmative action requirements

The labour disputes mentioned are costly and unpleasant. To ensure your employees never take legal action against your company, make sure you have sound policies and procedures in place and that you stick to them. This way, you'll ensure you're always on the right side of labour law.

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