Filing a complaint against your employer 1


There is no definite that a legal dispute between you and your employer may not arise. Taking legal action against your supervisor is in the least not at all something that anyone would want to face, but it is your right to ensure that you are treated fairly in your place of work. If your rights are infringed you can lay charges for the following against your employer:

  1. Discrimination in the work place
  2. Harassment
  3. Wage-hour claims
  4. Wrongful termination
  5. Dangerous work conditions
  6. Complaints against retirement or vacation benefits
  7. Hiring procedures
  8. Medical leave issues

How to file a complaint

There are specifics steps that each employee should follow before heading off to file a lawsuit against an employer. The first step is to lodge a complaint with the internal human resources (HR) department. The HR will evaluate the situation and then come up with a solution to the problem to avoid any legal battles.

Labour issues that cannot be resolved by an employee’s Human Resources Department may be taken to the nearest Department of Labour or to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (“CCMA”) to assist with resolving the issue.

The process may take some time and can be rather challenging for those who don’t know the law. It would be wise to get legal advice and representation by your side, to ensure that you are following the correct procedure and to have present during any hearings.

Tips for filing a complaint

Be sure to include documents and written statements with your complaint. Keep any work transcripts, hiring/firing forms, wage stubs, and receipts that might be relevant to your claim. Should you have a witness statement or admission, it’s best to get it in writing.

Cover yourself

All companies should have a copy of the employee handbook, as it relates to rules and regulations of the company. When you sign your employee contract you should be given this mandate to guarantee that you understand company policies. The employee guide contains important information about harassment, sick leave, family and medical leave, personal leave and discrimination in the work place. Familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities so that you know what action to take and whether or not you’re in legal footing or not.

There is certainly a time and a place for everything, if you feel that a work situation is getting to you on a personal level then it is time to speak up. Remember to first consult your HR before you take on your boss or another employee. So many times it happens that confrontation seems to be the worst possible answer to solving work related problems. 

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One thought on “Filing a complaint against your employer

  • mariza osorio

    Thanks Chantel,

    Informative.. From personal experience..

    What about non-payment of salaries?  or paying monthly salaries anytime between the 7th to 20th of the following month, for the previous month? – Isn’t this also illegal?

    Or failure to provide payslips, or supplying ‘fake’ ones? Deducting workmen’s compensation from labor?

    Unfortunately, reporting all of the above to SARS and DoL.. Hasn’t helped much