In a recent landmark case before the Labour Appeal Court, the appellant Bernadette Enever challenged her employer’s disciplinary action against her for using cannabis at home. This case has far-reaching implications for both employees and employers in South Africa, particularly regarding the use of cannabis and the drafting of company policies.

The Labour Appeal Court’s judgment in the case of Bernadette Enever v Edcon Ltd (2023) highlighted important legal and constitutional principles that have significant implications for the workplace. The court emphasized the right to privacy and dignity enshrined in the Constitution of South Africa, which includes the right to make personal choices in private spaces, such as one’s home. The court held that an employer cannot discipline an employee for lawful activities conducted in the privacy of their own home, including the use of cannabis for personal reasons.

This ruling underscores the importance of aligning company policies with the prevailing laws and the Constitution. When drafting company policies, employers must ensure that they do not infringe upon employees’ constitutional rights, including the right to privacy and dignity. Policies must be regularly reviewed to adapt to legislative changes and must not conflict with the law or the Constitution.

Furthermore, company policies must not only be relevant but also enforceable. Employers should ensure that their policies are clear, reasonable, and comply with legal requirements. Policies that are overly restrictive or discriminatory may be challenged by employees and could lead to legal disputes.

When it comes to cannabis use specifically, companies need to carefully consider their approach given this recent ruling. While employers must maintain a safe and productive work environment, they must also respect employees’ rights to privacy and personal choices outside of work hours. Companies may need to revisit their drug and alcohol policies to ensure they are compliant with the law and respect employees’ rights.

In conclusion, the recent Labour Appeal Court ruling in the case of Bernadette Enever has significant implications for company policies in South Africa. Employers must ensure that their policies are legally sound, respect employees’ rights, and are enforceable. By taking these considerations into account, companies can create a fair and compliant work environment that respects the rights and dignity of all employees.

Looking for Legal Guidance? Contact Us Today!

At Rasiluma TD Attorneys Inc., we specialize in providing comprehensive legal services tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses. Our dedicated team excels in drafting and reviewing employment and labor law policies and manuals to ensure both relevance and compliance with current regulations.

We understand the importance of having robust policies and procedures in place to protect your business interests and maintain legal compliance. Our expertise allows us to offer thorough reviews of your existing policies, identifying areas for improvement and ensuring alignment with the latest legal requirements.

For expert assistance in enhancing your company’s legal framework, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discover how our services can benefit your organization.

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– Telephone: +2711593 – 3130

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We look forward to the opportunity to support your business with our exceptional legal services.


1. J. Marriah – Maharaj (2024), 25 April. “Labour Court rules in favor of a woman who was fired for smoking ‘a joint’ after work – orders Barloworld to back pay R1 million”. IOL News. Available at: (accessed on 04 May 2024).

2. Enever v Barloworld Equipment, a division of Barloworld South Africa (Pty) Ltd (JS 633/20; JS926/20) [2022] ZALCJHB 142 (1 June 2022). Available at: (accessed on 04 May 2024).

3. Enever v Barloworld Equipment South Africa, A Division of Barloworld South Africa (Pty) Ltd (JA86/22) [2024] ZALAC 12 (23 April 2024). Available at: (accessed on 04 May 2024).

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