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Employment Equity training is vital to transformation in the workplace

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Employment Equity training is vital to transformation in the workplace

Employment Equity plays a pivotal role in transformation in the workplace in South Africa, and while a large number of South African organisations are required to report annually to the Department of Labour, they fail to comply. The Employment Equity Act can’t be effective unless it’s applied, and Employment Equity training in the workplace is a vital part of implementing it.

The Employment Equity Act is about promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace through the elimination of unfair discrimination. It also provides a framework for implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, which ensures their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.


If you have more than 50 employees or an annual turnover equal to or more than the stipulated amounts, you are regarded as a ‘designated employer’ and need to submit Employment Equity documents to the Department of Labour. These documents need to show that you have complied with the provisions of the Act, which includes training your staff on the act and their rights in terms thereof. Should companies be found non-compliant by an inspector or the Department of Labour, they could face a fine of R500 000 or more.


The Department of Labour focuses on four essential courses for staff development with regards to Employment Equity. They are:

  • General Employment Equity
  • Sexual Harassment / Bullying
  • HIV/Aids in the workplace; and
  • Cultural Sensitivity / Managing Diversity

Negative perceptions of Employment Equity have arisen over the years, and this is mainly due to our lack of understanding regarding the requirements of the Act. The Employment Equity Act is all about developing clear structures and strategies within the workplace, thereby ensuring the creation of equal opportunities. As a business owner, the thought of having to comply with additional regulations can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. If your organisation is a ‘Designated Employer’ in terms of the Employment Equity Act, it is essential that you have an Employment Equity Plan in place.


The Department of Labour has also promised to ‘name and shame’ organisations who do not comply with the provisions of the Act. Inspectors will check whether organisations have implemented Employment Equity in the workplace and whether affirmative action measures have been applied.


Make sure that you understand the Act in its entirety and devise an action plan, ensuring that your organisation is in keeping with EE legislation. Once Employment Equity has been put in place, compliance will become a much easier task to maintain. Don’t delay – make sure that you have all the necessary procedures in place as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the more likely it is that a hefty fine will be imposed upon you.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 July 2013 15:38
Kirsty Chadwick

Kirsty Chadwick

As an experienced educator, public speaker and leader, Kirsty Chadwick has spent almost two decades involved in the field of education. Founder of The Training Room Online, which designs and develops innovative tailor-made e-learning material for the corporate, industrial and private sectors, Kirsty has trained, developed and inspired people across three continents.

Website: www.thetrainingroomonline.com

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