On 7 April 2017, South Africans from all walks of life will unite across the country in protest and send a loud and clear message to the government about our democracy! But, before you head to the streets to voice your unhappiness with the current state of affairs, it is important to speak to your employer first.
Friday is a regular working day, and while many businesses are giving their staff the day off, it is not the case with every employer. Some have advised their staff that they can protest during their lunch break, or need to put in a day’s leave. Other companies are concerned about safety and have directed staff to work from home.
According to Advocate Jackie Nagtegaal from LAW FOR ALL, employees could face unintended consequences if they simply stay away from work without permission. “Employees have a contractual obligation to their employer, and simply not pitching up for work is a misconduct. They run the risk of not getting paid for the day, receiving disciplinary warnings and facing dismissal depending on the circumstances”.
LAW FOR ALL has decided to close its 12 offices nationwide to give employees the opportunity to actively participate in our democracy and protest according to their beliefs and conscience. LAW FOR ALL has encouraged other businesses to follow suit. “Regardless of political affiliation or belief, the paramount underlying principle is that South Africans are free to express their views, defend their fundamental human rights and be treated equally before the law. More than ever, all who live and work in South Africa need to not only know their rights but be able to exercise them” added Advocate Nagtegaal.
If you do decide to protest on Friday, stay on the right side of the law and keep the following in mind:
- Speak to your employer and don’t just stay away from work. Put in leave if necessary.
- Do not wear any clothing or uniform that could identify you as employed with a particular company.
- Be cautious and think about what you say or post on social media, especially if it has the potential to get you in trouble at work.