We are defined as a designated employer under the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 which aims to achieve equity in the workplace by promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination and through the implementation of affirmative action measures aimed at redressing the disadvantages in obtaining employment experienced by designated groups (black people, women and people with disabilities) in order to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the South African workforce.
As a designated employer we are required to prepare and implement an employment equity plan to achieve reasonable progress towards employment equity in our workforce. Our current plan is exhibited hereunder.
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY POLICY - MAHARAJ ATTORNEYS
1.1. The employment equity policy of Maharaj Attorneys is founded on the firm’s vision and commitment to quality and equity, its mission as a law firm and its values;
1.2. The employment equity policy acknowledges and takes into account the constitutional and legislative policy framework within which it functions;
1.3. The Firm understands the need to adapt its employment practices and policies to conform with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the Employment Equity Act (55 of 1998), the Skills Development Act (97 of 1998), the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (3 of 1983), the Labour Relations Act (66 of 1997) and other relevant legislation and to contribute to the realisation of the objectives of the national and provincial human resources development strategy of South Africa;
1.4. Employment equity is pursued and promoted within the larger context of a commitment to a non-racial, non-sexist and multicultural firm;
1.5. This implies that employment policy is a key element in recognising, appreciating, managing and harmonising diversity in a balanced way;
1.6. Conscious of South Africa’s legacy of discrimination, which has contributed to black people, women and people with disabilities not being able to obtain equal access to employment opportunities, the firm is committed to developing and implementing a programme of employment equity that will adequately address the effects of past employment related discrimination in a fair and balanced way;
1.7 The Firm, through its employment equity policy, commits itself to be an equitable establishment that offers a nurturing and challenging workplace and employment climate, respectful of human diversity and the human dignity of all, irrespective of race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV/AIDS status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, and birth;
1.8 The firm strives to eliminate all forms of unfair discrimination and to take corrective action, in the form of positive steps to remedy inequitable under-representation of designated groups and the lack of diversity in the composition of its staff, to equitably remedy the legacy of past discriminatory practicesand policies;
1.9 The Firm strives to promote and maintain an environment that empowers all its staff to achieve their highest potential without fear of prejudice or bias.
The purpose of this Policy is to provide the guiding principles, the institutional framework and basic strategies for the development and implementation of the Firm’s employment equity programme.
This Policy applies to all permanent and non-permanent employees of the Firm.
4. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
In order to realise the objective of creating an equitable work environment for all its staff members, this policy must be interpreted and implemented in accordance with the following principles:
4.1.1. The duty to ensure the equitable representation of designated groups in all employment categories and levels must be fulfilled in a fair and equitable manner, by taking into account and balancing all relevant interests and considerations, which include the employment interests and legitimate aspirations of non-designated groups.
4.1.2. The implementation of this principle implies, inter alia, that special weight must at all times be accorded to the legal duty to redress employment-related injustice suffered by members of designated groups, as well as the need to progressively address their underrepresentation in all employment categories and levels.
4.2. A culture of respect for human dignity, sensitivity and a sense of belonging.
The equity policy must be implemented to promote a culture of respect for the dignity of all staff members, irrespective of different backgrounds and traditions, and to create an overall sense of belonging.
Opportunity for the contribution for all must be enhanced. No staff member must be treated in a way that will sideline and marginalise him or her.
Barriers to the full utilisation of the potential of all staff must be removed.
All employment equity measures and decisions must be taken in a transparent manner, which includes the duty to justify such measures or decisions by providing adequate reasons to interested parties.
This Policy shall have immediate force and effect and Shall apply to the firm until equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels has been established.
6. AMENDMENTS AND UPDATES
This Policy must be updated and amended as and when required by new developments.
7. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
The following terms and definitions generally apply throughout this Policy:
“Black people” is a generic term which includes Africans, Coloureds and Indians.
“Designated groups” means black people, women and people with disabilities.
“Designated person(s)” means a person(s) from designated groups.
“People with disabilities” means people who have a long-term or recurring physical or mental impairment which substantially limits their prospects of entry into, or advancement in, employment.