City of Cape Town denies new mother's request to work from home
CAPE TOWN - Six weeks after returning from
maternity leave, a young mother found herself embroiled in a dispute with her employer over working
conditions in light of challenges posed by the lockdown and Covid-19.
Natasha Green, employed by the City of Cape Town in the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has now lodged a grievance, after attempts to strike a compromise regarding her
situation did not yield positive
According to her union, the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), when Green returned from maternity leave in May she had requested to work remotely as she could not secure a child minder for her infant and 3-year-old child due to lockdown restrictions.
The union requested that she be afforded a Covid-19 leave.
However, the City’s spokesperson Priya Reddy said Green provided an essential service and due to the nature of her occupancy, the service could not be provided from home.
She said according to the City’s leave policies, any application for leave was considered on the basis of the City’s operational requirements.
Samwu’s Archie Hearne, however, claimed that the “refusal” on both requests stemmed from a long standing dispute regarding alleged racist and derogatory remarks made against Green.
“She was called the K-word and Bossiekop in reference to her hair. She laid a complaint in 2019. No action has been taken on the matter and Green felt that she could not go back to an environment which has caused her trauma. She was booked off sick by a psychiatrist last month as a result of the traumatic experience she once again endured on her return," said Hearne.
Hearne said Green applied and was granted a protection order after a dispute over the granting of a whistleblower status.
Reddy confirmed that the City received a protection order from Green, through Samwu, on June 23 against her line manager.