The President today proclaimed 1 August 2014 as the effective date for the implementation of the Employment Equity Amendment (EEA) Act.
Johan Botes, Director in the Employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr warns that the amendments to the EEA ushers in likely claims of equal pay for equal work by employees feeling aggrieved by differences in their terms and conditions of employment.
“Designated employers must now also report on unfair discrimination in relation to differences in terms and conditions of employment when submitting their Employment Equity report on income differentials. These employers must also now report on reasonable steps taken to appoint, train and promote suitable people from designated groups,” he explains.
Botes says that labour dispute resolution processes are further streamlined with claims of sexual harassment now capable of resolution through arbitration at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration ("CCMA"), whereas the Labour Court previously adjudicated this category of unfair discrimination claims.
"Employers should audit terms and conditions of employees in different categories of employment," Botes says. "Where employers are unable to rely on grounds of justification for differentiating between employees doing the same work or work of equal value, the employer may face an unfair discrimination claim.
“It is likely that there will be a number of such claims referred to the CCMA until such time as employers grow accustomed to the conditions under which they may differentiate and those that amount to unfair discrimination. The draft regulations provide some guidelines that should be considered when determining the degree of compliance in the workplace," he adds.