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Disabled former worker hauls CTICC to court

Makgosi Letimile alleged she was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed.

Makgosi Letimile alleged she was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed.

Published Nov 22, 2021


CAPE TOWN - A former Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) employee living with a disability is headed to the Labour Court as she alleged she was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed.

Makgosi Letimile, 37, who uses a wheelchair was hired as part of a targeted recruitment of disabled people initiated by the CTICC in 2019.

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Her legal representative Tzvi Brivik, of Malcolm Lyons and Brivik Inc, said Letimile was told that her disability would be “accommodated”. However once employed, the CTICC’s promise of a disability-friendly workplace did not materialise.

“Its recruitment promises remained unmet and its (CTICC) conduct fell woefully short of its duty to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled employees,” Brivik said.

Brivik added that Letimile’s claims did not arise out of an isolated instance of discrimination, but were “based on a succession of incidents and experiences that cumulatively establish a pattern of unfair discriminatory treatment, victimisation, disregard and exclusion by the CTICC”.

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“This discrimination and lack of accommodation eventually extended to the retrenchment process followed by the CTICC in early 2021 and resulted in Ms Letimile’s automatic unfair dismissal in April 2021.”

Letimile has instituted Labour Court proceedings against the CTICC in respect of:

* Discrimination she experienced while employed at the CTICC on the prohibited grounds of her disability and/or the intersectional grounds of her disability, race and gender;

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* Her automatically unfair dismissal for operational reasons; and

* The alleged violation of her constitutionally enshrined, fundamental human rights to dignity, bodily and psychological integrity, freedom of expression and freedom of association.

The CTICC said it intended to oppose the matter.

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“The CTICC intends opposing this matter. Pleadings are not yet closed, and our attorneys have not had an opportunity to file our response, due on a date mutually agreed upon by the parties. The issues will be decided in the Labour Court in due course,” they said.

Brivik said Letimile’s case was important for disabled people generally.

“It should not be that considerations of employment equity feature strongly during hiring processes but fall by the wayside during the course of a disabled person’s employment or when retrenchment processes are initiated. They should remain relevant throughout,” Brivik said.

Cape Times

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Crime and courts