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South Africa: Equal opportunities

Original and updating authors: Helen Wilsenach and Pascale Towers, Bowmans

Consultant editor: Bongani Masuku, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

See the legal services provided by the author of XpertHR International > South Africa, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • All employers are obliged to take steps to promote equal opportunity in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination in any employment policy or practice. (See General)
  • It is not considered unfair discrimination for an employer to take affirmative action measures consistent with the relevant legislation. (See Exemptions)
  • The harassment of an employee is regarded as a form of unfair discrimination and is prohibited on any of the statutory grounds, or a combination of these grounds. (See Harassment and sexual harassment)
  • Employees must not suffer discrimination for exercising any right conferred by the employment equality legislation. (See Victimisation)
  • Because of the inequalities created by apartheid, employment equality legislation requires affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by "designated groups". (See Affirmative action)
  • Where the Labour Court finds in favour of an employee in respect of an unfair discrimination claim, it may award compensation. (See Remedies and penalties)