Discrimination in the Workplace – Part 3

Jul 3, 2015

Workplace discrimination5Part 2 dealt with unfair discrimination. This article, Part 3, deals with identifying discrimination in the workplace.
Employees and employers alike, need to be aware of the types of discrimination employees are vulnerable to in the workplace. By learning about unlawful and unfair conduct at work, employees are equipped with tools to protect themselves against workplace discrimination.

Identifying discrimination in the workplace

No one wants to fall victim to any form of discrimination. Regardless of what kind of prejudiced treatment it is, discriminatory actions are hateful and unpleasant. For most employees, discrimination is enough to drive them out of the company under the inference of constructive dismissal. Unequal treatment of employees is inexcusable and is grounds for immediate dismissal for those who contribute to such behaviour. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the equal treatment of each employee and that under no circumstances is any form of inequality acceptable.
Workplace discrimination can take many forms and can rear its head in various ways. Here are a few examples of the different kinds of workplace discrimination:
Prejudiced Job Adverts
A job advert is not allowed to request for certain discriminatory requirements to be adhered to. Such prejudiced job ads call for specific job seeker requirements to be met upon receipt of the CV application. The questions call for candidates of a specific build, race, age, sex or other discriminatory prerequisites. Unless applying to an acting or modelling role where these questions would apply, employment opportunities that are blatant discrimination should be avoided.
Discrimination during the Recruitment & Selection Process
Employers and job seekers should familiarise themselves with an understanding of their recruitment rights. There are sensitive job interview questions that employers are not allowed to ask based on discrimination clauses. Only questions that directly relate to the candidates’ ability to perform the job are permitted.
Age Discrimination  Workplace discrimination3
Age discrimination is rife in recruitment. Employers are not allowed to hire an employee based on their age. A candidate’s relevant experience is all that is required in a job application. This protects both young professionals as well as older more matured workers from being discriminated against. Age should have no bearing on an employee’s ability to perform their job. Provided they are able and fit to perform the required tasks, all that applies is their level of experience.
Sexism in the Workplace  
Gender discrimination has become a real and very relevant problem in the workplace. Workers are compensated based on their personal performance and ability to deliver measurable. Regardless of an employee’s gender, Genderwhoever performs the task most efficiently earns their right to advance. Gender discrimination may have been shrugged off twenty years ago but not anymore. Gender discrimination is no longer tolerated in the workplace. Both men and women share equal opportunities and progress based on their success to produce deliverables
Discrimination against Race and Nationality    images
Your skin colour, race and nationality have nothing to do with how well you perform at work. While we all share differences, it is our ability to outperform one another that sets us apart from each other. Regardless of your race, your nationality or you skin colour all employees in South Africa should enjoy equal opportunities within industry related quests. Dependant on how each person performs should dictate an employee’s growth path.
Sexual Orientation Discrimination sexual orientation
Under no circumstances is an employer to request information pertaining to an employee’s sexual orientation. Should an employee be treated unfairly due to the specifics of their sexual orientation, this constitutes as sexual discrimination and is punishable according to labour legislation.
While employers are accountable for such obscene employment behaviour, employees need to protect their rights. Staff should learn about ways to identify discrimination, how best to react to it and what procedure to follow should they be faced with discrimination in their workplace – See Part 2, the steps an employee should take when unfair discrimination takes place.
The final article in this series, Part 4, will deal with two areas of discrimination in particular that employers need to be aware of.

The content does not constitute legal advice, are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Kindly contact us on info@labourman.co.za or 021 556 1075 to speak to one of our consultants.


Wallace Albertyn

Wallace Albertyn is a Senior Associate and Legal Advisor at LabourMan Consultants.

Recent LabourTalk Articles

Testing Positive for Cannabis in the Workplace

Testing Positive for Cannabis in the Workplace

The decriminalisation of cannabis (also referred to as marijuana or weed) for personal use has caused a bit of an employer conundrum on how to deal with an employee who reports...

PART 2: Representation at the CCMA

PART 2: Representation at the CCMA

Introduction  Welcome to Part 2 of our series on navigating representation at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). In this instalment, we explore...

LabourTalk Newsletters

Subscribe and receive labour related information

Follow us



© 2024 ~ All Rights Reserved  |  Privacy Policy