Section 77(3) of the BCEA and the Labour Court’s powers redefined

Posted: December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

In Randwater v Stoop and Another, Randwater sought to recover damages following from the misconduct of two employees in the Labour Court.  

 

Randwater placed reliance on section 77(3) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which reads that “[t]he Labour Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the civil courts to hear and determine any matter concerning a contract of employment, irrespective of whether any basic condition of employment constitutes a term of that contract”

 

The Labour Appeal Court per Waglay AJP (now JP), agreed that section 77(3) allows for a claim in the nature of that brought by Randwater to be instituted in the Labour Court and recorded that “[t]he word ‘concurrent’ in s77 (3) places the Labour Court in exactly the same position as the High Court with the same powers and authority in relation to matters concerning a contract of employment.  The last part of the s77(3) provides the Labour Court with jurisdiction irrespective of whether any basic condition of employment constitutes a term of the employment contract. This demonstrates that the Labour Court has jurisdiction over any claim as long as it involves a contract of employment.. The words ‘any matter’ in s77(3) are broad and the literal interpretation does not limit the claims, in relation to a contract of employment, to a specific category. Damages, both liquid and illiquid, are included”.

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