To over-criminalise the labour law would militate against the original aim of providing social justice to workers, a top legal expert told a meeting in Durban this week.
Eleanor Hambidge, the Acting executive of legal services at the organisation and veteran labour relation practitioner, was addressing hundreds of commissioners at the annual indaba of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
'Your duty as a commissioner is to strike a balance between providing a speedy resolution of the dispute and fairness. Do not make the boardroom a courtroom," she said
Hambidge said according to the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) in various rulings, when determining the dispute, the commissioner has to resolve the matter expeditiously and act fairly to all parties.
We must guard against an approach where we over criminalize labour law. At the same time, let's not compromise the rules of evidence," she said.
The general principle is still that the employee should not be prejudiced," she said
Hambidge said commissioners were dealing with disputes as though they were criminal or high court matters and urged them to desist forthwith. My advice to you is to resolve disputes with the minimum of formalities and guard against turning labour court cases into kangaroo courts, she said.
Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour