Can I be discriminated against at work because I’m pregnant?
Working as a receptionist at a small company, Tshidi is a very loyal and diligent worker. When she fell pregnant, she thought her boss and colleagues would be happy for her. But when she told her boss the news, he became upset, saying she could not receive customers while pregnant.
He asked her to hand in her resignation, or else he would be forced to fire her.
Azikhiphi! That’s not on! Tshidi decided that she needed to get legal advice from a tough lawyer.
When is it discrimination?
A Scorpion lawyer told Tshidi that this was discrimination, and explained two types of discrimination:
Direct discrimination, which is intentional discrimination, meaning that harmful action is taken against a person because they have a certain characteristic (i.e. Tshidi is pregnant and is being forced to resign because of this).
Indirect discrimination is when certain things are done seemingly to exclude certain groups of people. For example, only hiring people that don’t have children and have no intention of having children. This may be intentional or unintentional, but there must be proof that this is causing suffering or loss to a certain person(s).
WHAT does the law say?
A person may, under no circumstances, be discriminated against or dismissed when they are pregnant. The Code of Good Practice on the
Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and After the Birth of Her Child, as well as the Constitution, the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 and the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998, prohibit such discrimination.
What can Tshidi do?
If Tshidi cannot resolve this issue through the company’s internal procedures, she can refer her dispute about unfair discrimination to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or the Labour Court. This process can be lengthy and costly.
What Scorpion can do for Tshidi
Contact her employer to mediate a possible resolution.
Refer her dispute to the CCMA in writing within six months of the discrimination.
Follow up with the CCMA on the status of the case.
Help with possible Labour Court proceedings.
How to strike back
Tshidi got the necessary information she needed to handle the situation. She followed the necessary internal company procedures to resolve the problem and her boss complied.
Scorpion Legal Protection can help policyholders with labour-related queries.
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