Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


"Sexual harassment is the most heinous misconduct that plagues a workplace; not only is it demeaning to the victim, [but it also] undermines the dignity, integrity and self-worth of the employee harassed… Sexual harassment goes to the root of one’s being"

(Motsamai v Everite Building Products (Pty) Ltd [2011]2 BLLR 144 (LAC) at para 20)

There is wide scale publicity of complaints of sexual harassment that have made the news in recent months. The public profile of a number of the alleged perpetrators has certainly aided the publicity. When global Hollywood personalities like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein were accused of widespread sexual harassment it spurred victims to come out under the #MeToo campaign.



Locally, the public outcry supported by media personalities, against the treatment of an employee alleging sexual harassment by some employees of the auditing firm Grant Thornton, demonstrated the almost immediate damage caused by the company’s poor management and insensitivity of the sexual harassment complaints.

Generally, allegations of sexual harassment raise the ire of the public and the media against the alleged perpetrators and the organisations they represent, irrespective of their guilt. The number of allegations and the length of time of the alleged harassment is, in most of these public cases, staggering. It is the nature of the beast of the perpetrator of sexual harassment to hide under the cover of their power over their victims and the longer they remain undetected, the more they prey.


The fear of victims to use even legally available processes to lodge their complaints demonstrates the level of disempowerment that victims of sexual harassment feel. On the other hand, there is always the possibility of false claims made by complainants to target people or companies, knowing full well that whether they are found guilty or not, the stain of the allegation of sexual harassment remains.


For employers in South Africa, the legal, psychological, individualistic and often hidden elements of sexual harassment create a complexity that is often difficult to manage. But manage it we must; as the reputational, financial and individual risks are far too high for it to be left poorly or, completely unattended. The best approach is to reach out to independent experts to help you enhance your systems, processes, practices and capacity now.


Employers, trade unions and employees must obtain broad-ranging advice and training on:

  • The current legal landscape in respect of sexual harassment matters;

  • The urgency of taking proactive measures to combat combating sexual harassment in the workplace;

  • The employer’s statutory obligations in respect of sexual harassment matters;

  • The potential risks of ignoring one’s statutory obligations;

  • The challenges that employers face in the context of sexual harassment matters; and

  • Understanding what constitutes sexual harassment.


Mediate Works provides a broad range of pre-emptive and reactive services, which are offered by our expert professionals, spanning the fields of psychology, academia, law and third-party dispute resolution. Above all, we do not compromise on confidentiality, quality control, value and professionalism.


Our services include:

  • Audits of the organisation’s policies and practices to ensure legal compliance and to make tailored recommendations;

  • Assessment of the organisation’s reporting structures and recommendations;

  • Assessment of the organisation’s investigation plan and recommendations;

  • Developing diagnostic tools to identify risks;

  • Designing an implementation of tailor-made suitable informal procedures to manage complaints of sexual harassment;

  • Designing an implementation of tailor-make suitable formal procedures to manage complaints of sexual harassment;

  • Designing an implementation of appropriate disciplinary and dispute resolution procedures and guidelines on sanctions;

  • Assessment of the organisation’s culture and recommendations to create an optimal working environment and a safe reporting space;

  • Designing, creating and implementing a sexual harassment workplace committee to focus on the enhancement and monitoring of internal systems, practices and processes;

  • Recommendations for suitable non-legal strategies to combat sexual harassment, taking into account the size, resources and structure of the organisation;

  • Comprehensive training programs that encompass law, process, psychology and dispute resolution skills;

  • Providing a pool of highly skilled and diverse - independent investigators, mediators, disciplinary and grievance chairpersons, negotiators, crisis management experts, negotiation strategist, psychologists, trainers and academics; and

  • Quality control and advisory services.


To help assist employers, advisers and professionals take the first step in enhancing their knowledge in this field we invite you to attend our breakfast seminar on Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.


WHY ATTEND:

  • Obtain the most recent content;

  • Access to diverse experts;

  • Obtain practical guidelines to implement immediately;

  • Networking opportunity;

  • Full Buffet Breakfast;

  • Two hours; and

  • Value for money.


WHO MUST ATTEND:

  • Human Resource practitioners;

  • Employee Relations practitioners;

  • Employee Wellness practitioners;

  • Counsellors;

  • Psychologists;

  • Trade Union Officials;

  • Shop stewards;

  • Commissioners;

  • Lawyers;

  • Legal Advisers;

  • Students; and

  • Organisational Development Specialists


For more details on this event; to purchase a ticket and book your seat today, click here