A labour court is a government judiciary body established in many countries to rule on the employment-related problems that both parties have been unable to resolve. Similarly, these courts also deal with the disputes over the contract interpretations, etc.

Understand How Labour Court Works

It is important to understand which type of disputes the labour court deals with. This is important because you can end up in the labour court if any of your employees decide to take a legal action against you or your company. In simple worlds, the labour court adjudicates the labour disputes and is equal in the status to that of the high court.

Your Employees Can’t Go Straight to Labour Court

It is obligatory for your employees to take their cases to a relevant bargaining council before going to the labour court. In bargaining councils, a conciliatory commissioner tries to resolve the matter by means of mediation. Your employee will only be able to take the matter to the labour court if the conciliatory efforts fail.

Types of Disputes Adjudicated by Labour Court

It is also pertinent to note that there are only certain types of disputes your employees can refer to the labour court such as:

1. Dismals related to:

  • Strikes
  • Unfair retrenchment
  • Pregnancy
  • A growing concern due to a transfer of business
  • A violation of Whistle Blower Act.
  • Refusal to accept an employer’s demands regarding a matter of interest.
  • If employees ask for or exercise their rights according to Labor Relations Act.

2. Unfair Discrimination.

3. Freedom of Association.

If a dispute between you and an employee does not fall in any of these categories, it will not go to the labour court but to the bargaining council or CCMA for arbitration instead.

The Power of the Labour Court

The labour court is an independent and quite a powerful body. It has the power to:

  • Grant orders for costs.
  • Grant applications for urgent decrees or orders against trade unions about to go to illegal strikes.
  • Review the decision of the bargaining council and set aside any reward offered by it. Therefore, if you can prove that the arbitrator was guilty of “misconduct”, you can take the case to the labour court for review proceedings.
  • If an employer does not implement affirmative actions, the labour court can hear allegations against him.

Similarly, the labour court also has the authority to order you to:

  • Stop discriminating against employees.
  • Reinstate an employee if you dismissed him unfairly.
  • Pay a maximum of 24 month’s remuneration as compensation to the employee in certain cases.
  • Always comply with the requirements of affirmative action.

Finally, there is nothing wrong in saying that most of the labour disputes turn out to be very unpleasant and costly as well. You need to put sound strategies and policies in place and implement them in order to prevent your employees from going to court against you. This will also help you always to fulfill the legal requirements and prove your innocence in case your employees do refer a dispute against you.