The employment contract is an essential source of the employees, and the employer’s rights. Although employers have no remedies under the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 and Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, an employer is still entitled to enforce its rights as they are written in the employment contract. Where the employee has breached a term of its contract of employment, the employer may rely on the contract to protect it against such breach, such as insisting on key performance outcomes, and/or claiming damages. Your contracts of employment should govern the steps to be taken should a breach arise, and provide a resolution process, should a dispute arise between the parties in terms of the contract. The Labour Appeal Court, in Rand Water v Stoop & another (2013) 34 ILJ 576, has confirmed that employers may sue ex-employees for damages arising from breaches of their contracts. The Labour Court and civil courts both have the jurisdiction to hear these disputes.
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