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Human Rights Business Studies Grade 12 Study Notes

Human rights are applicable to all aspects of life, including the workplace. Ensuring that human rights are respected in the workplace is crucial to creating an inclusive, safe, and fair working environment. In this article, we will discuss the various human rights that are relevant to the workplace and the implications of these rights on businesses.

Human Rights Business Studies Grade 12

Human Rights Applicable in the Workplace: Several human rights are applicable in the workplace. These include:

  1. Privacy: Businesses must respect the privacy of their employees and clients. They should not provide personal information about employees to anyone else, and information on employees who have disclosed their HIV/AIDS status or any chronic illness must be kept confidential.
  2. Respect/Dignity: All employees should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their socio-economic status. Businesses should not force workers to do embarrassing or degrading work.
  3. Equity: Businesses must provide equal opportunities to all employees and not discriminate against them based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. They should apply relevant legislation fairly on all levels and ensure that no employee suffers because of discrimination.
  4. Freedom of speech and expression: Businesses should allow open communication channels between management and employees. They should give employees a platform to raise their grievances without victimisation, and an employee should not be punished/discriminated against for voicing their opinion.
  5. Information: Workers should have access to information, including all information held by the government. Businesses need to be transparent in their financial statements, and employees may request to see these statements with motivation.
  6. Freedom of association: An employer may not refuse employees to join the trade union of their choice.
  7. Free choice of a trade/occupation/profession: Every employee has the right to receive suitable training for positions at their place of work.
  8. Safety, security and protection of life: Employees should work in a safe working environment free from hazardous products/areas. Provide workers with protective clothing and comply with safety legislation such as OHSA/COIDA.
  9. Labour rights/Freedom of assembly/Right to protest: Businesses may not discriminate against any employee who opts to follow the correct process to strike/withhold labour.
  10. Freedom of thought and religion: Businesses may not prevent an employee from practising his or her religion. Employees should be allowed to observe their religious holidays and given time off.
  11. Freedom of movement: An employer may not prevent an employee from applying for any suitable position at another office of the employer or any other business.
  12. Health care/food/water and social assistance: Employees should have access to clean water and sanitation at the workplace. Some employers subsidise healthy meals and arrange for primary health care services to be available on site.
  13. Fair labour practices: Pay should be fair, and businesses must adhere to the terms and conditions of BCEA.
  14. Education and training/universal right to basic education: Employees should be sent for skills development training programmes, coaching/mentoring to prepare employees for managerial positions, and every employee has the right to training, including ABET training for employees who have little formal education.
  15. Freedom to choose your own language/participate in own cultural life: Employers may not discriminate against any employee’s cultural/language choice. They must ensure that all employees are treated equally, and employers should have a detailed policy dealing with diversity in the workplace.
  16. Access to Labour institutions/Court: Employees have the right to apply to the CCMA/Labour Court for assistance if discussions with the employer did not resolve any labour disputes.

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