The Seychelles Employment Tribunal and its Application and Interpretation of the Grievance Procedure Provisions under the Employment Act
Author Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi
Affiliations: Professor, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 43 Issue 3, 2022, p. 1499 – 1521
In 2008 the Seychelles Employment Act of 1995 was amended by the Employment (Amendment) Act (2008), inter alia, to establish the Employment Tribunal. Between 3 December 2008 and 1 December 2021, the tribunal received 2,478 civil cases and 172 criminal cases. The author examined 648 files for the years from 2012-2021 to assess how the tribunal has applied or interpreted the Employment Act to deal with grievances between workers and employers and focuses primarily on dismissal and disciplinary issues short of dismissal. The article highlights certain shortcomings in the procedures and practice of the tribunal, and suggests amendments for their resolution. Inter alia, it argues that where one of the parties fails to appear before a competent officer for mediation, the officer should not issue a certificate to the effect that mediation was unsuccessful. Furthermore, the tribunal’s approach of treating criminal matters as civil ones could be encouraging some employers to terminate contracts of employment unjustifiably; and, in addition, the tribunal should be clear on who has the burden to prove termination of employment in cases where the termination is contentious. Since many respondents refuse or fail to appear before a competent officer for mediation and there is case law from the Supreme Court suggesting that mediation is not mandatory, the Act may have to be amended to make mediation mandatory before a complaint is taken to the tribunal.