Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic that has crippled the rainbow nation, the country is gearing up to celebrate one of the most treasured public holidays of our time, Human Rights Day – which commemorates the Sharpville Massacre which took place 60 years ago. With this in mind, we look at what Human Rights Day means in the current employment lexicon of South Africa.

In line with the United Nations and the local parliament, human rights can be defined as rights that every human has access to regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. The most common ones known to mankind are the rights to life, food, clothing, water, etc. In the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, Chapter two deals with the Bill of Rights. It is in that chapter that it states that for many basic human rights to be changed, a two-thirds majority in parliament must be achieved. In 1960, 69 people lost their lives in a peaceful protest the then discriminative Pass law. From this, the demarcation of labour rights came to rise – in order to prevent unfair measures against all citizens of the country, to further prove the innovation of SA as a democratic state.

The labour laws present in South Africa ensure that all employee’s rights and fair working conditions for them. Every organisation should have a policy framework that lays out its stance regarding labour laws. These are expected to be available at any time for inspection and enforcement. The policies should also be updated regularly to reflect any changes which may occur in the legislation. In the workspace, fair treatment of employees must be adhered to. This means that workers cannot be discriminated against due to issues that were beyond their control. A common thread in South Africa is the discrimination against employees who seek promotions but due to structural inequality, they do not qualify. Due to the country’s past and financial woes, many individuals suffered at the cost of being cast out – many millennials and baby boomers are not able to afford to further their education or upskill. In such cases, skills development and training programmes must be made available in order to level out the playing ground.

As Adson, we believe in providing opportunities for every individual in South Africa to move forward in their career, grow with the organisation, and most importantly in their personal development. In workspaces where discrimination against employees arises due to experience or education levels, skills development programmes can be implemented in order to remedy this. With South Africans at the centre of our hearts, we strive to reinforce employment and empower workforce growth throughout the country and work alongside clients with the same principle at mind.

In the case where human rights in the workplace are being stifled, employees have the right to make use of their company’s grievance procedure. Other options also include the CCMA and Human Rights lawyers.

For more information, visit the South African Human Rights Commission here. For training solutions, send us an email at or call us on 012 333 0046.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *