The right to claim costs at the labour court

I was recently asked to assist in a matter to oppose costs in the Labour Court. Although the merits of that matter are of less importance here, I thought it may be interesting to quickly touch on the aspect of what it means to claim costs at the Labour Court?

In the first place, the Labour Court is a Court of Equity and Law and not of Law alone as the High Court, although it has similar status. Judges make law in the Labour Court and create precedents that must be followed. The Labour Court’s jurisdiction is nationwide.

However, distinct from High Court matters, at the Labour Court costs does not automatically follow the cause which means the losing party is not unless ordered to fit the bill of the opposing party, but costs are never-the-less, granted in cases where e.g. frivolous actions were brought and there were no clear right in the first place and we view it hereunder:
Here are some basic principles that have be considered by parties, as developed through case law:

Yours Sincerely
LABOURINFO TEAM

Managing your business and labour after lockdown (COVID-19):

LATEST URGENT INFORMATION! – SEPTEMBER 2020

You need to note the following urgent information (please email or call to set up a meet to discuss more detail):
Although government declared that everything should return as much as normal to level 1 as from Sunday midnight. There are new legislative requirements. The reality is unfortunately that with or without a vaccine the threat may be far from over for a lot of us for some time to come.

To assist businesses for the next six months to a year we are not only conducting a survey. We can assist to reduce your risks to lessen the effect of COVID 19. It is estimated the economy and most probably your business also suffered at least a 50 to 100% drop in turnover for the last 6 months.

As a labour and now also commercial consulting business we are now able to deal with many more issues than normal. Normally we assist clients to only maintain policies and procedures, manage disputes and other to protect their interests and ensure staff enter and exit a company smoothly. Some of the issues we found during the pandemic that were unique or created new challenges with new questions related to COVID 19 only were inter alia:

  1. UIF: Ters COVID 19 claims, payments, no work no pay, leave, deductions, short pay, salary decreases, payments and non-payments of benefits, allowances, commission, wages, employing foreigners;
  2. Retrenchments: Lay-offs, short time, severance pay, procedures related to retrenchments, substantiating retrenchments, retirement, voluntary separation, consensus;
  3. Strikes: Wage negotiations, Work stoppages, Unprotected strikes, Protest Action, New wage claims;
  4. Health and Safety: Policies and Procedures, Protocols, Indemnity forms for staff over 60 and comorbidities, masks, hygiene, risks assessments, safety officers, compliance checks and management, social distancing, safety measures, protecting clients, customers and staff, COIDA, medical aid, leave and sick leave for staff and supporting policies, death certificates;
  5. Conditions of Employment: Working half day, every second day, parental leave, working hours, maternity leave, family responsibility leave, quarantine, payments, sick certificates;
  6. Dispute resolution: Insubordination, breaking health and safety protocols, gross dishonesty, failing to work working hours, refusing to change conditions, absenteeism, transport and travel restrictions and permits.

We are improvising in some instances as a consulting business as we noticed a number of shortcomings in as far as companies that do not have policies and procedures to cover the above circumstances. Where companies had policies they are hoping their existing policies and procedures may cover it. The reality is that there are and may be a number of these policies and procedures and forms that may be outdated or not be providing for any of the above circumstances.
Apart from the above, clients inter alia also face the following new challenges that we can now assist with:

  1. Recently published new Health and Safety requirements and COIDA claims procedure for staff contracting COVID 19, leave and sick leave provisions which must be added to existing policies;
  2. Changes to the Employment Equity Act: Reporting, record keeping;
  3. POPI Act: In force from 1 July 2019 and companies have until 1 July 2020 to get all procedures, policies, documents and forms in place to prevent fines;
  4. New challenges are faced with mergers, business rescue and other commercial requirements to sustain businesses;
  5. Commercial agreements and compliance from companies, including lease requirements.

It is our opinion and duty to ensure that we keep you informed for you to make the right decisions. Also to require that you urgently allow us to revisit your business in order to discuss and conduct a` proper audit of what you have, what you think you may have and what you may realize after reading this letter that even if you do have and make provision for it, as a result of the pandemic that is not really over yet, you may be missing some information or require assistance from us.

We started to engage some of our clients, but your business may need an urgent follow up to ensure that you and your operations comply as well as every single business unit, department of function that is part of your company. That you are prepared and your business can weather any storm.
We use the existing HR Audit (kindly find copy attached) we wish you to inform us what assistance you may require further from us, taking into consideration that some of the aspects listed above may not even be provided for in the HR Audit as a result of the uniqueness of COVID 19, so from that perspective it makes even more sense to revisit everything you have.

We kindly request that you complete it and return within the next 7 to 14 days to us. Alternatively set up an appointment, to allow us to conduct further investigation to see what you comply with or not. This is so important that clients must please ensure they follow through with this, as the last thing you may want is for your business to be closed down or receive fines or have staff refer a case to the CCMA/BC due to non-compliance.

We wish to sincerely thank you for your continued support in utilizing our labour and now also commercial consulting company’s services during this extremely difficult time of COVID 19.
Yours Sincerely
LABOURINFO TEAM

Introducing our new Managing Director

LABOURINFO is proud to welcome KERUSHA KYLIE GOVENDER as Managing Director.

Kerusha holds an LLB (UKZN), a football management course (Sports Business Institute of Barcelona) and is in the process of doing an eMBA (Henley Business School).

She has a background in labour and commercial law and experience across many industries, ranging from football to mining which captures her dynamic and wide-ranging skill set. She manages a dual career in media which supplements her already outstanding communication and relationship management. Further, she works as a secretariat for the Deregulation Working Group within the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council showing her ability to work with private, public, local and international entities. She is passionate about advising and assisting clients with the skills and expertise she draws from both her legal and media backgrounds.

“It is my fundamental aim to provide clients with personal interaction and trusted legal services that ensure both positive and tangible value.” KK Govender

Adv. Henk Horn, CEO and founder of LABOURINFO (henk@labourinfo.co.za) stated: “We are more than delighted that Kerusha, as a distinguished business woman and leader, has decided to facilitate our clients’ commercial, labour and trade needs. In the difficult times we currently face, where businesses are reliant on labour and commercial services to see them through the effects of COVID19, it is more important than ever to offer reliable legal services that add value.

At LABOURINFO we believe that people are at the heart of any services business and therefore it is our people that set us apart. We are certain that Kerusha is going to add another dimension to LABOURINFO and look forward to what she brings.”

LABOURINFO is a Labour and Commercial Consulting Company established in 2007 by Advocate Henk Horn who has 32 years of experience in Labour Law, and related fields. Its client list includes inter alia Absa, Nedbank, Engen, Airchefs, Nando’s, Sky Chefs, Fedserv, Pie City Holdings, Auction Finance, Colcacchio And Others.