EMPLOYERS should develop clear procedures to deal with sexual harassment.
In cases where sexual harassment has occurred in the workplace, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) advises that the following steps be taken:
There are two options to resolve a problem relating to sexual harassment, either informally or formally.
During the informal procedure, the employee concerned must have an opportunity where he or she can explain to the harasser that the behaviour is not welcome.
Should this not work, the formal procedure should:
- Specify to whom the employee should lodge the grievance;
- Make reference to timeframes which allow the grievance to be dealt with speedily; and
- Provide that if the case is not resolved satisfactorily, the issue can be dealt with in terms of the dispute procedures.
Serious incidents of sexual harassment or continued harassment after warnings are dismissible offences.
A victim of sexual assault has the right to press separate criminal and/or civil charges against an alleged perpetrator, and the legal rights of the victim are in no way limited by this.
Should a complaint of sexual harassment not be satisfactorily resolved by the internal procedures, either party may within 30 days of the dispute having arisen, refer the matter to the CCMA. Should the dispute remain unresolved, either party may refer the dispute to the Labour Court within 30 days of receipt of the certificate issued by the commissioner.