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Sexual harassment is serious! Avoid the following three scenarios from happening to you

by , 30 September 2015
Sexual harassment in the workplace can harbour many potential dangers to you and your business.

And so it's very important for you to take action so you can avoid any sexual harassment whatsoever.

Having said that, you need to know that an employee who's been sexually harassed in the workplace has a number of options to take.

These are:

1.       In terms of Section 6 of the Employment Equity Act (EEA), sexual harassment is seen as a form of unfair discrimination. And according to  the Act, if you don't take measures to stop it, you could very well end up paying damages. But it's worth noting that such claims must be brought up within six months of the alleged incident and must first be referred to the CCMA.
2.       The sexually harassed employee could potentially sue you for damages in the High Court. This could be based on your liability over the actions of the harassing employee. This is known as 'vicarious' liability. Or it could be based on the fact that you didn't care for your employee by providing a safe working environment that's free of harassment. Note that a claim in the High Court can be brought forward within three years after the alleged incident.

2 out of 5 women in South Africa have been victims of some form of sexual harassment in the workplace!

Do you know what procedures to follow if one of your employees lodges a sexual harassment complaint?
3.       You could be sued for constructive dismissal. This is based on the fact that the sexual harassment in the workplace makes working there completely intolerable. If you don't address the problem, the employee could resign and claim constructive dismissal which could potentially lead to you paying out 24 months' remuneration on top of any other expenses. This claim must be brought forward within 30 days of the alleged incident.
As you can see, sexual harassment in the workplace is taken very seriously. So, in order to prevent any of the above-mentioned scenarios from happening to you, you MUST take all reasonable steps to prevent it in the workplace.

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