Unintended Consequences: Navigating Moral Hazards in Employment Equity Compliance

Unintended Consequences: Navigating Moral Hazards in Employment Equity Compliance

Employment Equity, Human Resources

In our previous article we write about the importance of the Employment Equity compliance certificate. In order to get this compliance certificate one of the new rules requires there to have been no adverse ruling at CCMA against an employer for the past twelve months in relation to harassment. Whilst the amendment is well meaning we are extremely concerned about the moral hazard relating to this. This is best illustrated by an example.

Employer X is a good corporate citizen and takes steps to make sure it has the right policies and procedures and training for staff around harassment in the workplace. It even makes sure these are extended to any contractors working on site.  Employer X has an under performing staff member and they follow a performance process to help move this staff member to a better position. The employee knows they are in a difficult position and either unwilling or unable to meet the required performance levels. They get advice from their friends and decide to lodge a harassment case against one of their colleagues on the back of something that is said in jest in the canteen.

The employer goes through a process and believes there has been no obvious harassment, but the employee threatens to take them to CCMA.

The employer does not want to risk losing their employment equity compliance certificate because of the billons of rand this may cost them. Instead they agree to settle… and the slippery slope of vexatious claims begins. Employees learn quickly that the employer cannot afford to take the risk of going to CCMA and has to settle each time.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a solution to this problem other than taking extra care in managing harassment in the workplace. For that extra bit of good advice please feel free to contact us at [email protected] .