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ARTICLE 4

In proceedings before the labour court, in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997, as amended, where an applicant claims damages from an employer on the basis of an alleged breach of contract by such employer, it is important for the applicant to realise that he or she will only be successful if a very specific onus in respect of such claim of damages is discharged.

This article summarises the approach of the labour appeal court with regard to the applicant’s onus in respect of the aforesaid claim of damages.

THE ONUS ON AN APPLICANT WHEN HE OR SHE CLAIMS DAMAGES IN THE LABOUR COURT AGAINST AN EMPLOYER, IN TERMS OF THE BASIC CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT ACT, 75 OF 1997, ON THE GROUNDS OF AN ALLEGED BREACH OF CONTRACT BY AN EMPLOYER 

In KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority and Others v Wasa,[1] the labour appeal court summarised the position as follows: 

1.       firstly, the employee has to prove that it suffered damages as a consequence of breach and, furthermore, that there was a causal link between the damages suffered and the breach; and 

2.       secondly, the employee has to prove the quantum of damages it actually suffered.


[1]          (2016) 37 ILJ 2581 (LAC); [2016] 11 BLLR 1135 (LAC); (2016) 27 SALLR 19 (LAC)

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