The South African Constitution guarantees the right to equality and also gives protection to all from unfair discrimination. It goes further by acknowledging that affirmative action measures are necessary to advance disadvantaged groups.
What is unfair discrimination?
In accordance with article 09 of the South African Constitution, all persons are equal before law and there can't be any discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth. The law also prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers. Employment Equity Act also prohibits discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities and HIV status other than those mentioned above.
Is there fair discrimination?
Yes. The law sets out four grounds on which discrimination is generally allowed:
- Discrimination based on affirmative action
- Discrimination based on the inherent requirement of a particular job
- Compulsory discrimination by law; and
- Discrimination based on productivity.
What can I do if I have been unfairly discriminated against?
If you feel that you have been unfairly discriminated against, or that an employer has
contravened the laws, you can lodge a grievance with your employer. If the matter is not
satisfactorily resolved at the workplace, it can be referred to the CCMA within six months
of the unfair discrimination taking place. If the CCMA is not able to resolve the dispute
through conciliation, the matter can either be referred for arbitration (if both parties
agree) or to the Labour Court for adjudication.
If you feel you have been discriminated against, find out how the CCMA can help you.
Find out all about official Minimum Wage set by the state in South Africa.