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HR 101 – What to do When . . . You Are A South African Working In A Foreign Owned Company – Part 1

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour and Best Practice requirements.

As you probably know, an Embassy is, according to international law, considered to be on foreign soil. Therefore if you are a South African working in an Embassy you would be governed by the Labour laws of that particular country.

This, however, does not apply to companies or branches of companies that are based in South Africa.

Here’s the story.

Mike is the Managing Director of a Foreign owned company in South Africa, whose Head Office is in the USA.

The USA Head Office officials decide that they do not like Mike’s management skills and he is dismissed without any kind of warning. Mike refers his dismissal to the Bargaining Council.

The USA Head Office officials retaliate by stating that the Council has no jurisdiction because it was the Head Office in the USA, who dismissed Mike and not the officials that reside in South Africa.
The arbitrators are called in and it is decided that the Bargaining Council do have jurisdiction because of (but not limited to) the following issues.

• Although the Company’s Head Office was in the USA, Mike was employed in the South African branch.

• The employer had to pay Mike’s legal costs.

Mike won his case, since the dismissal procedures, which apply to South Africa, were not complied with.

Next week we will have a look at South Africans working in a Foreign country.