Last week, we looked at who designated groups are in terms of the Employment Equity Act (EEA). We also discussed the notion that discrimination can be both fair and unfair. In this article, we looked at fair discrimination, specifically inherent requirements of the job. In this article, we will unpack the concept of unfair discrimination.

Designated groups, according to the Employment Equity Act, are black people, women and disabled people. Click here to tweet.

What Are Grounds For Unfair Discrimination?

Section 6 of the EEA lists the grounds on which discrimination will be unfair. These are:

  • Race,
  • Gender,
  • Sex,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Marital status,
  • Family responsibility,
  • Ethnic or social origin,
  • Colour,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Age,
  • Disability,
  • Religion,
  • HIV status,
  • Conscience,
  • Belief,
  • Political opinion,
  • Culture,
  • Language,
  • Birth, and
  • Any other arbitrary ground.

What Are ‘Arbitrary Grounds’?

It is a rule in law that when a piece of legislation does not define a term,it is necessary to look to  its ordinary meaning, in other words, a dictionary, for clarification.  The term ‘arbitrary grounds’ is not defined in the EEA which means we have to turn to the Merriam Webster.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, in law ‘arbitrary’ means:

“depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law”

The same source defines ‘grounds’ as:

“A basis for belief, action, or argument ground for complaint”

This means that ‘arbitrary grounds’, as an amalgamation of the two above definitions, are bases for actions that are dependent on individual discretion and are not determined by law. Thus, an arbitrary ground for discrimination would be unfair discrimination that is based on a reason other than one of the grounds listed in Section 6 of the EEA.

You Will Be Fined If You Do Not Comply With Employment Equity

It was recently reported that the Department of Labour is cracking down on companies who are found not to be compliant with employment equity.  These companies, which are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), stated that they had submitted Employment Equity reports which, in fact, was not true. They are each facing fines of R1.5 million.

The Department of Labour is cracking down on companies who don’t comply with #employmentequity. Click here to tweet.

At our Employment Equity Seminar, which is going to be held in Cape Town from 30 – 31 August 2017 – you’ll learn all you need to know about employment equity and how you can be compliant – and avoid that R1.5 million fine… Click here for more information.