Judgement reserved in police employment equity case

Judgement in the case of a police captain who claims she was twice overlooked for a senior position because she is white was reserved in the Labour Court on Thursday.

This, following closing argument by counsel for the police and trade union Solidarity.

In his closing argument, advocate John Grogan SC—who represents Captain Renate Barnard on behalf of Solidarity—said it was the duty of the court to determine the balance between an individual’s right to equality and the employer’s duty to maintain employment equity standards.

“The applicant is asking for a finding that there was unfair conduct that prevented her from getting what she should have gotten had this discrimination not been perpetrated.

“Captain [Renate] Barnard was not appointed because her appointment would have frustrated the achievement of the Employment Equity Act ... nothing more than logic is required to draw the first inference from the evidence,” Grogan said.

Barnard, an officer with 20 years’ experience, applied for a senior position in a unit dealing with public grievances in 2005 and again in 2006. She was not appointed on both occasions despite the interview panel recommending her for the post as the best candidate.

A reason advanced by then-police national commissioner Jackie Selebi was that Barnard’s appointment was not representative of the police’s employment equity goals.

Grogan asked the court to order that the police had unfairly discriminated against Barnard on the basis of race.

He also urged Judge Paul Pretorius to order that Barnard be retrospectively promoted with effect from December 1 2005 and that the police pay the legal costs incurred by Solidarity and Barnard.

Counsel for the police William Mokhare denied that Barnard was discriminated against and urged Pretorius to dismiss the application with costs.—Sapa

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