2 months ago
HOW TO HANDLE SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORK
Scorpion Legal Protection  ~ 

SHORTLY after Sihle joined a small company, she started noticing that her boss kept staring at her in the office.

One day, she went into his office to talk to him about work and he told her she looked very good in her uniform.

Sihle ignored it and continued with her work.

But the next week, he kept making inappropriate sexual remarks about her uniform.

She told him it made her feel uncomfortable, but he laughed it off and said she should relax, he was just complimenting her.

Azikhiphi!

Because the company is small and has no human resources department, Sihle sought professional advice from Scorpion Legal Protection.

What is sexual harassment?

It is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature.

Sexual attention becomes harassment when the behaviour is unwelcome and not mutual, and if the behaviour continues despite the recipient making it clear that the attention is unwanted.

This can be physical, verbal, or non-verbal unwanted attention.

Different forms of sexual harassment:

  • Comments with sexual undertones, inappropriate questions about a person’s sex life, unwelcome whistling or sex-related jokes.
  • Unwelcome lewd or obscene gestures, indecent exposure, display of sexually explicit pictures and objects.
  • Offers of salary increases, promotion, among others, in exchange for sexual favours. This is also known as “quid pro quo” harassment (something for something).
  • Sexual favouritism – employees that agree to exchange sexual favours get promotions or salary increases unfairly.

What does the law say?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a violation of the Employment Equity Act. The Code of Good Practice on Sexual Harassment is used as a guideline when dealing with such matters.

What can Sihle do?

Such matters are generally dealt with through internal procedures in an organisation. Once all internal procedures have been exhausted, and yet no solution is found, the matter can be referred to the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) within 30 days of the dispute. If the CCMA cannot resolve the issue, the matter can be referred to the Labour Court.

How to strike back

With the information and advice Sihle got from Scorpion, she hit back.

After informing her boss of her rights, he backed off.

Scorpion Legal Protection can assist policyholders with labour-related queries

You can strike back legally too!

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