By this time, CEO members and readers of this forum will better understand the inner workings of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and the effects it may have on employers. Now that we know what exactly is expected from a designated employer, it is also essential to have a thorough understanding of how the EEA can be monitored and enforced.
The Act stipulates that this may occur in the following ways: Firstly, any employee or trade union representative may bring an alleged contravention of the Act to the attention of another employee, an employer, a trade union, a workplace forum, a labour inspector, the Director-General, or the Commission. The party informed will generally investigate the alleged contravention to determine the validity thereof. Quite often, at this stage of a potential dispute, an employer may be referred to the CCMA, alleging that unfair discrimination has occurred.
If an alleged contravention is brought to the attention of a labour inspector, the inspector has the authority to enter, question, and inspect the alleged contravention. Once the labour inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that the EEA has been contravening, the inspector may request and obtain a written undertaking from the designated employer to comply with the provisions of the EEA within a specific period.
Should a designated employer refuse or fail to give a written undertaking, the labour inspector may issue a Compliance Order. A Compliance Order in terms of this Act must comply with the provisions thereof within a specified period unless the employer objects to the Compliance Order in terms of Section 39 of the EEA.
If the Compliance Order is not complied with or objected to, the Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to make the Compliance Order an order of the Labour Court. Once this process is completed, the Compliance Order will be enforced, ensuring that the EEA provision is adhered to.
Article by Ruaan Heunis
Provincial Manager at Consolidated Employers Organisation (CEO SA)