Q: I need some help with sexual harassment at work. What can I do?

I need some help with something that happened at work recently. Our company spent the day in a strat-conference, and afterwards a group of us stayed on for some team-building drinks. A manager in another department started making comments about me: he kept asking me to “bend over” (I was wearing a mini-skirt), suggested that they enter me in a wet-T-shirt competition (I was wearing a white blouse), said he hadn’t seen such a juicy piece of meat since his last visit to Teazers, then asked how much I charged per hour. He thought that what...

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Protecting trade secrets when an employee leaves

How do you protect confidential company information from being used against the company in the event that an employee leaves and joins a competitor? So often a company loses an employee – only to have the employee hand over confidential information to their new employee, which can do no end of damage to the ex-employer. There are two ways of handling a scenario such as this: proactively or reactively. Reactively handling the situation would involve obtaining an interdict to prevent the ex-employee and their new employer from using the...

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Mediation in the Magistrates Court – a step-by-step guideline

You’ve followed all the advice, acted as a prudent businessman or woman, ensured all your business dealings are in writing, signed terms and conditions and generally behaved like the model citizen. The challenge is that the same cannot necessarily be said of your business associate. If your business associate breaches your agreement, what then? The law may be squarely on your side, your contract may be watertight, the terms may be clear. But enforcing your rights still requires you to take legal action. This means commencing action in a...

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Q: I am the majority shareholder selling a software company, is there anything that I can do to limit my risk?

I am the majority shareholder in a software company. We’ve been approached by a very large competitor who has asked whether we’d be interested in being taken over by them. I’m not averse to this if the price is right, so I’ve appointed one of my directors to oversee the negotiations. Our head office is in Joburg but I recently moved to Cape Town which is why I can’t be as involved in the discussions as I’d like to be. I am a little hesitant though, because it involves giving our director a lot more information about the company...

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Legal Recognition of Cohabitation

Cohabitation refers to people (regardless of their gender) who live together as if they were married, but are not legally married. Society in general has progressed a long way since the days when the mere hint of ‘living in sin’ would have had the ladies reaching for their smelling salts. South Africa’s courts have, equally, kept up with the changing times, and have on numerous occasions recognised the existence of a cohabitation relationship between two people. The courts generally recognise the existence of a universal partnership...

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