Most of us know that the Employment Equity Act was recently amended, with one important change being what is now termed Equal Pay for Equal Work.
This not only defines discrimination very clearly and more broadly, it also makes a significant change to how discrimination cases are dealt with. Previously, discrimination was a Labour Court issue, meaning the cost of referring a discrimination case was prohibitively expensive for almost anyone.
Now, discrimination cases for almost all employees are referred to the CCMA. There are no cost barriers for an employee to refer any matter where they believe discrimination has taken place.
The reputation risk for employers with discriminatory practices (or even where employees believe there are discriminatory practices) has increased, as there is greater scope for the interpretation of discrimination and easier access to refer disputes.
The Famous Brands ruling by the Labour Court adds a further dimension. Until the ruling, it was generally believed that the CCMA could only deal with single employees referring discrimination cases – the reputation risk was “contained” for employers.
The Famous Brands Labour Court ruling, in short, allows groups of employees to have their discrimination cases arbitrated at CCMA level. In the case of Famous Brands, this amounted to 632 employees being able to refer a “class action” type of case to the CCMA.
Heads of HR and Reward naturally have an ethical obligation to diagnose and deal with unfair pay practices. In addition to this, the Famous Brands case highlights the degree of exposure and reputation risk that Heads of HR and Reward face on behalf of their companies if they are not actively working to ensure that pay practices are fair.
I’m an accredited Master Reward Specialist with a passion for Business Intelligence, Analytics and the benefits that a Big Data approach brings to Human Resources.
The REM Solutions Equal Pay for Equal Work Analysis diagnoses and identifies unfair pay practices.