The Labour Relations Act of South Africa protects employees from unfair labour practices in the workplace. An unfair labour practice means any unfair act or omission that arises between an employer and an employee. The Act prohibits any employer from acting unfairly in relation to the promotion, demotion, probation or training of an employee. It also prevents unfair suspension of an employee or other unfair disciplinary actions.
An unfair labour practice can also be inferred for example, if there exists a discrepancy in remuneration between various employees who do the same or similar work. Such an unfair labour practice can be referred for mediation, conciliation or arbitration to help resolve the matter which saves costs and avoids the lengthy process of litigation in the Labour Court.
It is therefore important to first make use of any internal procedures made available by the employer namely the internal grievance procedure. These avenues are open to all employees who feel they have experienced an unfair labour practice which they must prove with the appropriate evidence available to them in order to be successful.
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