Get your HIV grievance procedure wrong and you’ll land at the CCMA. Avoid this by following these six guidelines

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 01 Dec. 2014

Tags: ccma, hiv-related grievances, dealing with hiv-related grievances


It’s World AIDS Day today.

The aim of the day is to remember those who lost their lives to the disease, show support to those with the disease. And raise awareness about the virus.

If you’re thinking “so what does this have to do with me”? The answer is simple: The fight against HIV and HIV/AIDS stigma extends to your workplace. And it must continue even after World AIDS Day.

For example, the Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Employment says you must develop grievance procedures to deal with HIV-related complaints in your workplace.

The aim of this is to get rid of the unfair discrimination HIV positive employees face at work due to their status.

When they bring complaints to you, you must deal with them correctly. If you don’t, they could take the matter to the CCMA.

And if there’s one thing bodies like the CCMA and our courts can’t stand, its employers who don’t take steps to stop unfair discrimination. So there’s a big chance you could lose.

To avoid landing up at the CCMA and losing, follow these six guidelines to deal with HIV-related grievances correctly.



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Follow these six guidelines you must follow to deal with HIV-related grievances correctly

 
#1: Deal with the dispute as soon as possible. You must investigate what took place.
 
Living with HIV isn’t easy. So don’t add to your employee’s stress by ignoring the complaint.
 
#2: Deal with the issue using your grievance procedures. And maintain confidentiality throughout.
 
#3: Give your employees options to resolve the issue.
 
For example, you can ask employees in the dispute to go for counselling. You can also talk to them about moving to another position in the company.
 
Just make sure the options you give are the ones set out in your procedures. Remember, going against what your procedures say is a big no-no. It can, in itself, land you at the CCMA.
 
#4: If possible, get an outsider to help you solve the issue. He may have more expertise.

 
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#5: If the offender broke your employee’s right to privacy, make the complainant aware of his rights. For example, he can lodge a civil claim.
 
#6: Give support throughout the whole process. Check how your employee is doing and if he needs help as you do your best to solve the dispute.
 
You mustn’t victimise your employee for complaining.
 
Remember, if you fail to resolve the grievance, your employee can refer it to the CCMA within six months (Section 10(2) of the Employment Equity Act).

 
When you’ve dealt with the HIV-related grievance, it’s a good idea to do this

 
It’s a good idea to introduce an HIV and AIDS awareness programme in your workplace.

It will help all your employees to work through their fears and prejudices about the disease.
 
If you already have a programme, remind them again about the programme and what it’s all about.

According to the westerncape.gov.za, “workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programmes can play a vital role in raising awareness around HIV, preventing HIV infection and caring for people living with HIV.”
 
There you have it: Following these guidelines when you deal with HIV-related grievances will help you avoid landing up the CCMA.
 
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