Women and Justice: Court: Labour Court of South Africa (Arbeidshof van Suid Afrika)

Domestic Case Law

Mgolozeli v. Gauteng Department of Finance Labour Court of South Africa (Arbeidshof van Suid Afrika) (2014)


Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The applicant, a male, applied for a senior managerial position previously occupied by a woman. After undergoing a psychometric assessment, he was recommended for appointment. The recommendation was turned down “due to the gender imbalance at SMS level”. The applicant claimed that he had been unfairly discriminated against on the basis of his sex because the target, set by the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, did not comply with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act (EEA), 55 of 1998. The respondent contended that, although it had not adopted an equity plan, it had set itself a target of 50% females in senior management positions. The Court noted that when the second respondent took the decision not to appoint the applicant, there was great confusion regarding the actual gender balance at the senior management level. However, the Court was prepared to accept that, at the time, females filled only 29% senior management posts. The EEA requires that equity plans must provide objectives for each year, their duration, and procedures for evaluating their implementation. The Court noted that, in SA Police Service v Solidarity obo Barnard (Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union as amicus curiae [2014] 11 BLLR 1025 (CC)), the Constitutional Court had confirmed that competent courts must ensure that validly adopted equity plans are applied lawfully. Apart from the fact that the respondent had no plan, it had no mechanism to track the levels of gender representation. The second respondent had applied the target without considering the panel’s reasons for its recommendation. Affirmative action had been applied ad hoc, in a haphazard, arbitrary, and random manner. The responsible official had applied a quota system and raised an absolute barrier, both of which were impermissible. The affirmative action measure applied by the respondents conflicted with both the Constitution and the EEA. Accordingly, the measure had unfairly discriminated against the applicant. The respondents were directed to appoint the applicant to the post concerned and pay him compensation equal to the difference between the salary he had earned and the salary he should have earned, with retrospective effect.

Die applikant, 'n man, het aansoek gedoen vir 'n senior bestuurs-posisie wat voorheen deur 'n vrou beset was. Nadat hy 'n psigometriese assessering ondergaan het, is hy vir aanstelling aanbeveel. Die aanbeveling is afgekeur "as gevolg van die geslagswanbalans op SMS-vlak". Die applikant het daarop aanspraak gemaak dat hy op grond van sy geslag onregverdig gediskrimineer is omdat die teiken, wat deur die Gautengse Provinsiale Wetgewer gestel is, nie voldoen het aan die bepalings van die Wet op Gelyke Indiensneming (EEA), 55 van 1998 nie. Die respondent het beweer dat, hoewel dit nie 'n ekwiteitsplan aangeneem het nie, het dit 'n teiken van 50% vroue in senior bestuursposte gestel. Die Hof het opgemerk dat toe die tweede respondent die besluit geneem het om nie die applikant aan te stel nie, was daar groot verwarring oor die werklike geslagsbalans op die Senior bestuursvlak. Die hof was egter bereid om te aanvaar dat vrouens slegs 29% senior bestuursposte gevul het. Die EEA vereis dat ekwiteitsplanne doelwitte moet gee vir elke jaar, hulle duur en prosedures om die implementering daarvan te evalueer. Die Hof het opgemerk dat, in SA Polisiediens v Solidariteit nms Barnard (Polisie en Gevangenisse Burgerregte-Unie as amucus curiae [2014] 11 BLLR 1025 (CC)), het die Konstitusionele Hof bevestig dat bevoegde howe moet verseker dat aanvaarde ekwiteitsplanne wettig toegepas is. Afgesien van die feit dat die respondent geen plan gehad het nie, het dit geen meganisme gehad om die vlakke van geslagsverteenwoordiging op te spoor nie. Die tweede respondent het die teiken toegepas sonder om die paneel se redes vir die aanbeveling te oorweeg. Regstellende aksie is in 'n lukrake, arbitrêre, en willekeurige wyse toegepas. Die verantwoordelike amptenaar het 'n kwota-stelsel toegepas en 'n absolute versperring geopper wat albei ontoelaatbaar was. Die regstellende aksie maatreël wat deur die respondente toegepas is bots met beide die Grondwet en die EEA. Gevolglik het die maatreël teen die aansoeker onregverdig gediskrimineer. Die respondente is gerig om die aansoeker aan die betrokke pos toe te stel en vergoeding gelyk te skenk aan die verskil tussen die salaris wat hy verdien het en die salaris wat hy moes verdien het, met 'n terugwerkende effek.