Have an employment practices liability policy considering dismissal…

By liamarus, 27 March, 2014
... Otherwise you could pay through your nose at the CCMA

by Mitch Marescia

In South Africa, there are an average of 800 employee versus employer cases a day at the CCMA. Of these, at least half are won by the aggrieved employee. The CCMA can award up to 12 months of an employees' salary if you're on the wrong side of, for example, an unfair dismissal case. It's clear that if you don't have insurance cover for your business – such as an employment practices liability policy – you're leaving yourself at risk.

Employment practices liability vs employers' liability: what's the difference?

A sure way to remember the difference is that employment practices liability covers claims arising out of unfair labour practices, while employer's liability is applicable to injury to employees at work:

  • Employment practices liability policies insure employers against allegations of unfair dismissal, sexual harassment, discrimination and the failure to employ. The policy covers legal fees, damages, awards (at the CCMA for example) and settlements. This makes the cover provided under an employment practices liability policy particularly important in the South African context.
  • Employer's liability is actually an extension under a general liability policy and has nothing to do with unfair dismissal. Instead, it takes into consideration injury to employees in the course of their employment. This excludes claims arising from prolonged exposure and cover provided by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COID).

COID has eliminated the employee's common law right to sue the employer for injury, which results from an accident. There are still, however, instances where the employer may be sued. For example:

  • COID only covers injuries resulting from an accident but the injury could’ve resulted from a wilful act.

There is a further extension which generally comes with employer's liability, i.e. the employee-to-employee extension. This provides cover for claims made by one employee against another arising out of events which occurred during the course of employment.

This article first appeared on HR Pulse.



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