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Letlhokwa George Mpedi

Abstract

This contribution reflects on racism within the workplace from a labour law perspective. It deliberates on the approach adopted by the South African courts of law in dealing with the vexed issue of racism at work. In particular, this contribution focuses on the following themes: the relevant legislative framework, determining racism in the workplace, the nature and impact of racism at work, dealing with false accusations of racism, the use of racial slurs on social media, racism-related off-duty misconduct, and the dismissal of an employee at the behest of third parties. It concludes by arguing that racism in the workplace cannot and should not be tolerated. Furthermore, it is a broader societal problem that must be addressed by all stakeholders. Such stakeholders include employees, employers, trade unions, workplace fora, labour inspectors, the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour, and the Commission for Employment Equity. In dealing with racism, sight should not be lost of the fact that courts of law cannot unilaterally eradicate this scourge. South Africans from all walks of life have a role to play. After all, in as much as racism is taught, it can and must be unlearned.

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Section
Opinion