Faris vs TFD Network Africa (Cape Labour Court)

by Daniela Ellerbeck
12 April 2017

*Note:  Although FOR SA is not / has not been involved in this case, the case to a greater or lesser extent touches on religious freedom and is mentioned for that reason.

In December 2016, the Labour Court in Cape Town refused an employer (TFD Network Africa) leave to appeal against an earlier judgment by the Court (in 2015), in which the Court found that the employer had unfairly discriminated against the employee (Faris) because of her religion and ordered R60,000 in compensation.

The facts of the matter are as follows: Faris is a Seventh-Day Adventist who refused, for religious reasons, to work on Saturday (a day which Seventh-Day Adventists consider as a Sabbath) and was dismissed as a result. In the original hearing before the Court, Faris testified that she had “made it known during her first day at work and before she signed her contract” that she could not work on Saturdays, but the company started objecting. She recalled a meeting during which senior manager told her he “does not give a f%#k about her religion”.

In the application for leave to appeal before the Labour Court, the employer argued that Faris was not dismissed because of her religion, but rather because of her inability to work on Saturdays which was a contractual and operational requirement. The Court dismissed this argument on the evidence (facts) however, and found that there was not a reasonable prospect that another court, on appeal, would find differently to what the Court had originally found in this matter. As a result, the Court dismissed the employer’s application for leave to appeal.

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