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Proceedings of the Tribunal

The proceedings of the Employment Tribunal are regulated under paragraph 6 of the Employment Amendment Act 2008 which states that:-
 

1. In any proceedings of the Tribunal, there shall always be a representative from the employers’ organization and the trade union sitting as a member provided where parties to a dispute agree the Chairperson may sit with only one member.
 

2. The Tribunal shall where possible sit at least three times a week and laws relating to evidence shall be applicable to witnesses or persons appearing before the Tribunal.
 

3. Each member of the Tribunal shall have an equal vote and decisions shall be reached by a majority vote.
 

4. A decision of the Tribunal is enforceable as if it were a decision of the Magistrate Court. 
 

5. A party before the Tribunal may be represented by a lawyer or by a representative of a trade union or an employers’ organization or any other person as the case may be.
 

6. The Tribunal shall before making any decision: 

  • Afford the parties the opportunity to be heard;
  • Generally observe the rules of natural justice
     

7. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Tribunal shall have power to conduct proceedings in whatever manner it considers most appropriate.
 

8. At the conclusion of the proceedings the Tribunal shall in addition to any other remedies provided under this Act, award compensation or costs or make any other order as it thinks fit.

Powers of the Tribunal

The powers of the Tribunal, found under paragraph 5 of the Employment Amendment Act 2008, allow it to:

1. Summon any person to appear before it;

2. Examine a witness or any person appearing before it on oath;

3. Require any person to produce any document which the Tribunal considers relevant.

Appeals

Any person against whom judgment has been given by the Tribunal may appeal to the Supreme Court subject to the same conditions as appeals from a decision of the Magistrate Court.
 

(Upon receiving a copy of the judgment or ruling the party or parties dissatisfied with the decision may within 14 days file a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court)

Composition of the Tribunal

The Tribunal is composed of 11 members which includes;
 

  • The Chairperson who is a Magistrate and is nominated by the Chief Justice under Schedule 6, paragraph 1(1) of the Employment Amendment Act 2008.

 

  • Two Vice-chairpersons appointed by the Minister responsible for Labour and Human Resource Development by powers conferred under paragraph 1 (2) of Schedule 6 of the Employment Act. 

 

  • Not more than eight members can be appointed by the Minister to serve on a part time basis from a panel drawn up after consultations with the representatives of the Employers’ organization and Trade Unions.

 

  • The names of the members shall be published in the Official Gazette.

 

  • A member shall hold office for a term of three years and may be reappointed for a further term.

 

  • A member of the Tribunal shall not take part in a hearing in relation to a matter in which the member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest.

 

  • A member of the Tribunal or any other person under the direction of the Tribunal has immunity in respect of anything which is done or purported to be done in good faith pursuance of the Employment Amendment Act 2008.

Offences and Penalties

Any person who:
 

  • Disobeys without reasonable cause any order of the Tribunal, 
  • Without reasonable excuse fails to attend the Tribunal when summoned or required by the Tribunal. 
  • Fails to produce a document when required to do so by the Tribunal.
  • Disrupts, or misbehaves in the course of the proceedings of the Tribunal.
  • Insults, or threatens a member in the performance of his/her functions.
  • Having attended the Tribunal, refuses or fails to answer any question.
     

Is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine of not more than Rs 40,000


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