No creditor likes having to deal with a defaulting debtor. Matters become even more interesting when the said debtor goes into business rescue. In such instances, the creditor’s avenues of recourse become rather limited by the Companies Act – because a creditor is unable to sue its debtor while their debtor is in business rescue. What’s a hapless creditor to do? Particularly in the uncertain economy in which we currently live, where suppliers are increasingly at risk. One good option is to make use of suretyships. Before releasing goods or rendering services, request your debtor to provide some solid guarantors, eg. ask the shareholders, directors, trustees, members, holding company etc to sign a suretyship guaranteeing the debtor’s obligations. Read More.....

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When a debtor uses a myriad of excuses to delay payment for longer than three years… Sounds crazy, right? How does a creditor let a debt slide for three years without doing anything about it? But actually, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Sometimes the debt is incurred in the course of a much larger, complex, more involved project, allowing the creditor to validate their payment delays until the project has been completed. And other times the creditor is just really, really good at coming up with believable excuses and unfulfilled promises that serve as little more than delaying tactics. Read More.....

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With the amount of publicity around mental health recently, it was only a matter of time before an ill-advised employer decided to address the issue head-on. In their employment contract. The clause landed up in the Labour Court, where the judge lambasted it. And rightfully so.

The facts, briefly, related to an employee who was appointed as a sales rep. She signed an Employment Contract that included a rather disturbing clause. The employer decided to include a requirement that the employee must submit to psychiatric testing as and when the employer requests it. It would be alarming enough if this was a standard clause in their contract. But it wasn’t. This delightful little clause was inserted solely for this employee.  Because she was bipolar. Despite the fact that her condition was being well-managed and in no way detracted from her work. Read More.....

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Being a landlord without having a signed, written lease agreement can be fraught with challenges. Not to mention the high probability of regular he-said-she-said arguments with your tenant. It can be extremely difficult to protect your interests as landlord and owner of your property if you don’t have a written and signed lease agreement. So if you’re planning on renting out your property, a good place to start is drafting your contract of lease. Here are some tips to help you on your way. Read More.....

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A few months ago I entered a Baby Bump competition, which was part of a marketing campaign run by a manufacturer of baby products. I landed up winning a hamper of goodies. When I tried to claim the prize, they said that before I could get the goods, I had to post a picture of their products on my social media feeds, say something complimentary about them, and link them in so that they can share my “compliments” in their feeds. They even gave me some sample wording! I’m really angry about this. They didn’t tell me this when I entered the competition. Can they really insist on this? Read More.....

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Ideally, there shouldn’t be any necessity for estate planning. In a congenial, perfect family, surviving members would amicably divide everything equitably without a squabble, and set matters to rest with minimal fuss.

In Utopia, maybe. But we live in the real world.

In reality, death often leads to dissention. Arguments among the surviving members of the deceased’s family make estate planning an indispensable exercise. A will becomes even more essential in the case of a second marriage. Read More.....

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An unfortunate fact of the South African labour environment is that the employer-employee relationship is not always a bed of roses. Occasionally you need to deal with thorny issues that inevitably arise from time to time. Like the employee that sleeps on duty, swears at customers, persists in arriving late and leaving early, obstinately refuses to follow instructions, blatantly disregards company policies, commits theft, __________ fill in the blank! Difficult though it may be, employers are cautioned against acting on a knee-jerk. Admittedly it is tempting to yell “You’re Fired!” and instruct security to boot your employee out the door. But unless the thought of dealing with a CCMA action appeals to you, a more tempered approach is advised. Here are a few guidelines for when you find yourself having to discipline a wayward employee. Read More.....

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I have a moral dilemma – please could you help me? I work as an admin clerk in a small financial services firm. Sales have been flat lately, so the company has decided to run a competition. The way it’ll work is that there’ll be advertising both to our customers and in the media that people who take out any insurance products with us will stand a chance of winning a holiday to Disney World. People can also buy extra tickets for the competition if they want. Then, on the day of the draw, it’ll be rigged so that our Sales Manager will draw our marketing agent as the winner. She’ll then reject the tickets on the basis that the date the holiday has been booked for is “too inconvenient”. I’ve been given the job of consolidating all the entries and passing on new customers to our agents to cold-call. But I’m really not happy with this competition. Is it legal? And what can I do about it? Note: I really need my job, so I don’t want to be responsible for getting the firm into trouble! Read More.....

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Are restraints of trade legal? Can they be enforced? Should I be worried about signing a restraint? Or is it true that a restraint of trade isn’t worth the paper it’s written on? The short answer is: restraints of trade are indeed legal.

Restraints are a common employment requirement and form an integral part of many employment contracts. Without a restraint in place, any employee who has access to key confidential information could cause serious damage to the business if s/he decided to leave and join (or startup) the opposition. But it is of critical importance that the restraint of trade has been properly worded if it is to stand up to the Courts’ scrutiny. South African law recognises the employer’s right to enforce restraints of trade in order to protect legitimate proprietary interests. But these interests must be balanced against the employee’s right to work and to earn a living. Read More.....

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Section 60 of the Employment Equity Act may not be all that well-known. But it should be. It can have severe consequences on any employer that fails to take sexual harassment complaints seriously. Section 60 effectively provides that when an employer becomes aware of a sexual harassment allegation, the employer must consult with all relevant parties and take “necessary steps” to eliminate the perpetrator’s conduct. The employer’s failure to do so may render it liable to pay rather hefty damages to the complainant. Read More.....

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