South Africa: Employment and Labour On Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace

Department of Employment and Labour pours cold water over sexual misconduct and wants it to end

There is no room for sexual harassment in the workplace and those involved in it should stop before it is too late, a meeting of the Department of Employment and Labour was told this week in the Free State.

Tina Roos, Director for Employee Relations was addressing the top brass in the provincial management meeting in Bloemfontein.

“Sexual misconduct doesn’t belong in the workplace. If you are doing it, please stop. We are not here for special favours and may I remind you that the workplace is a professional place,” Roos said. She said among comments and gestures associated with sexual harassment were; “Just come and give your boss a hug – can I propose to you? My wife or husband does not treat me well and you look so sexy today.”

She said the key thing with the misconduct was a comment or move that makes the victim “feel uncomfortable”.

Turning to challenges facing the Department, Roos said capacity affected the ability of the unit to service clients effectively.

Equally frustrating was the unavailability of officials to testify in disciplinary or arbitration cases, Roos said. She said as an intervention to educate about sexual harassment and employee relation matters, the unit published regular articles in i-DEAL – the Department’s in house newsletter.

Roos said Head office was planning to host Employee Relations Forum in Pretoria at the end of the month.

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