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Month: July 2017

Should I have to tolerate Corporate Bullying?

Should I have to tolerate Corporate Bullying?

Every employee has the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, and employees do not have to tolerate bullying by employers. Bullying in the workplace is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly; trying to ignore it may only make it worse. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to address the problem of a workplace bully, whether they are a colleague or your employer.

Defining Bullying

Workplace bullying links to feelings of incompetence as well as job insecurity. It is generally seen as unwelcome conduct which is hostile or offensive and induces a fear of harm and/or humiliation.

  1. Bullying usually seems to arise when an employer wishes to get rid of a particular employee, but does not want to follow proper procedure; the aggressive and harassing behaviour is resorted to in the hope that the employee will resign.
  2. Bullying is classed as an unfair discrimination and a violation of human rights. It results in poor morale among employees and insufficient concentration at work, which can lead to a loss of productivity.

Bullying vs the Law

According to the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000, workplace bullying is offensive conduct in the workplace which is persistent and/or serious and demeans, humiliates or creates a hostile or intimidating environment. This offensive conduct includes workplace violence, moral harassment and emotional abuse.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) states that employers have a duty to protect workers from bullying, and that they should develop a code of conduct on harassment in consultation with the employees and the employee representatives.

Dealing with Bullying

It is the responsibility of the employer to develop a policy or code of conduct with regards to bullying, and they should educate managers and employees on suitable workplace behaviour. Grievance procedures must be established to protect employees from bullying; senior management should actively support the introduction of these procedures, and they should implement practices to alleviate workplace bullying.

It is important that human resource practitioners are educated in effective investigation processes with regards to bullying in the workplace. Suitable reporting mechanisms should be established between human resource departments and senior management to report on corporate bullying.

  • When an employee gets bullied, it is advised that he/she first confronts the bully directly, in the presence of a witness, and request the bully to cease the harassment immediately.
  • They also have the option of turning to their union or employees’ association for assistance.
  • Once the case has been reported, the employer is obliged to investigate the case and if necessary, disciplinary action must be taken against the bully.
  • Any matters that cannot be resolved at employer level can be referred to the CCMA for conciliation and if a resolution is not reached by that process, then the matter will be referred to the Labour Court.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

References:

http://www.lexisnexis.co.za/pdf/1-1-Corporate-Bullying-Rycroft.pdf; Workplace Bullying: Unfair Discrimination, Dignity Violation Or Unfair Labour Practice? Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, 2009. Web. 22 June 2017.

http://www.labourguide.co.za/general/374-harassment-in-the-workplace; “Harassment In The Workplace”. Labourguide.co.za. N.p., 2017. Web. 22 June 2017.

CONDUCTING SLAUGHTERING RITUALS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD IN URBAN AREAS

CONDUCTING SLAUGHTERING RITUALS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD IN URBAN AREAS

Slaughtering for the purpose of showing gratitude, asking for protection or asking for healing from ancestors has been an African cultural tradition dating back hundreds of years. Animals included in the rituals are chickens, goats, cows and sheep, depending on the nature of the ceremony. Many arguments strike between traditionalist and animal cruelty activists, especially when the tradition is conducted in urban areas, near other neighbours. However, for the neighbourhood to get along, compromises must be made.

What laws protect traditionalists?

Section 15 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, under the Bill of Rights, states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and belief. Section 31(1) also protects the right for people to enjoy their culture, which includes the ritual slaughter of animals as a cultural belief. It extends that observances follow rules made by public authorities. Municipal by-laws are drawn up to protect those wishing to conduct ceremonies which include the slaughtering of animals in urban areas.

Application

  1. A notice must be submitted to the local municipality 14 days before the expected commencement of the slaughtering ritual.
  2. The notification of the type of animal that will be slaughtered should also be given.
  3. Commencement of the ritual may occur when the applicant has received a permit from the municipality.

In sectional living, such as townhouses, the body corporate trustees should be notified of such a ceremony.

Procedure

The procedure of slaughtering may vary from culture to culture, however basic regulations still apply. The animals may not be kept for a period longer than 12 hours prior to slaughtering, in accordance to the terms of the Abattoir Hygiene Act of 1992.

With the purpose of respecting the neighbours association with the slaughtering, the procedure should be carried out in an enclosed area, out of the public’s eye where people not involve with the ritual would not be able to observe.

The suffering caused to the animal must be kept at a minimum, with the slaughtering being conducted in a humane manner. Once the ritual has been completed, proper steps must be complied with in carcass removal, as well as with the hygiene and the city ordinances to ensure the respect of the neighbourhood. Furthermore, the slaughter ceremony does not constitute the selling of the meat, but rather for free consumption by those in attendance of the ritual.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

 References:

McCrindle, C. (2017). Ritual Slaughter in South Africa. [ebook] Pretoria: University of Pretoria, p.2. Available at: http://accounts.unipg.it/~beniamino.cencigoga/didattica/Dialrel_files/11_McCrindle.pdf [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].

News24. (2017). By laws need to ‘accommodate slaughter’. [online] Available at: http://www.news24.com/southafrica/news/by-laws-need-to-accommodate-slaughter-20110329 [Accessed 14 Jun. 2017].

Za.sudeshkumar.org. (2017). South African ritual animal slaughter. [online] Available at: http://za.sudeshkumar.org/2011/04/south-african-ritual-animal-slaughter.html [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].

LEGALISATION OF DOCUMENTS FOR USE ABROAD OR IN SA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

LEGALISATION OF DOCUMENTS FOR USE ABROAD OR IN SA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

You need to send a South African document overseas for business purposes or you are selling your South African property while you are working and residing in the United Kingdom.  What are the requirements for the documentation to be accepted and deemed to be valid and binding for the purpose for which it was executed?

The High Court Act 59 of 1959 prescribes the formalities to be complied with regarding documents which have been signed outside of South Africa for use in South Africa.  The process to be followed is contained in Rule 63 of the High Court Rules of Court (hereinafter referred to as Rule 63).

All countries have unique formalities which must be complied with regarding the execution of documentation, resulting in a diversity of different legal systems, causing a complicated chain of authentication procedures that needs to be adhered to when foreign documents are required to be legalised.  As a result hereof the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 took place, (hereinafter called the Hague Convention) having the effect of simplifying the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents.

The above resulted in the formalities of legalisation for all countries that have agreed to be part of the Hague Convention, to be changed to the simple delivery of a certificate in a prescribed form, called an “Apostille”, by the authorities of the state where the document originates.  The purpose of said certificate is to legalise a specific document by means of a certificate issued by the diplomatic or consular agents of the country in which the document is produced, which certificate certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears.  The formality to certify the authenticity of the signature, capacity in which the person signing the document has acted and where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears, is the addition of the Apostille (certificate), issued by the competent authority of the state from which the document emanates.   The Apostille accordingly does not relate to the content of the underlying document itself.

Here follows a short summary of what needs to be taken into account to ensure compliance with the prescribed formalities:

  1. A notary public may only authenticate documents executed in the following countries, namely: Botswana, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. No further authentication other than that the notary public is to authenticate the document by identifying the signatories thereof, and affixing his/her signature and seal of office to the document.  Accordingly no witnesses are required.
  2. If a document has been executed in any country other than the above, either the procedure described in Rule 63 may be followed, or the formalities prescribed by the Hague Convention, provided that both countries must be members of the Hague Convention in lastmentioned instance.

The difference in the authentication processes of Rule 63 and the Hague Convention are described below:

A document authenticated in terms of Rule 63 must be signed by the signatories only, and no attestation by witnesses is required.  The document is further authenticated by means of a “Certificate of Authentication” to be affixed to the document, which certificate must be issued and signed by, and bear the seal of office of any of the following, namely the head of the South African diplomatic consular mission, or a person in the administrative or professional division of the public service serving in a South African diplomatic, consular or trade office abroad, or any Government authority of such country charged with the authentication of documents under the law of such country, or the consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the United Kingdom.

In South Africa all documentation that requires legalisation are to be sent to the Legalisation Section of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (“DIRCO”), situated in Rietondale, Pretoria.  Said department has prescribed formalities that needs to be adhered to when a request for legalisation is submitted, and it is advised that you contact your attorney or a public Notary to submit a request on your behalf should you have the need to legalize a document as such.

Authentication in terms of the Hague Convention entails the signature of the document by the signatories (again, no witnesses are required, and it includes any notarial documents attested by a notary public) and the authentication of the document by affixing an Apostille thereto.  The Apostille must comply with the prescribed format stipulated in articles 4 & 5 of the Haque Convention and must bear the title “Apostille (convention de Le Haye du 5 Octobre 1961)”.  It must furthermore be issued and signed by, and bearing the seal of office of any of the following, namely any magistrate or additional magistrate or any registrar or assistant registrar of the High Court, or any person designated by the Director-General of Justice.

The above is not a simple procedure and it is advised that you obtain legal advice when you require any documents to be legalised to ensure full compliance of all prescribed formalities.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)