Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman has accused an officer from the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) of making a racial slur against him.
The officer in question remarked 'Hey Gupta what are you doing here?' when Rehman went to renew his driver's license, says CiiBroadcasting
When Rehman ignored the comment, the officer cracked another joke about Indians.
Now, Rehman's escalated the matter by reporting the incident to the department's head, lodging an official complaint and referring the matter to the Equity Court and the Human Rights Commission.
And remarks made unthinkingly by your employees – whether to customers or just among themselves – could land you in similar hot water.
Here's why you need to make your harassment policy clear to your employees…
That's why you need to make sure your employees are absolutely clear on your company's harassment policy, says FSPBusiness
Because any form of harassment could land you in the Labour Court if you haven't put a harassment policy in place and described exactly what counts as harassment to your employees.
Make sure your employees know what counts as harassment…
So it's the unwelcome nature of the action – like the 'Gupta' comments aimed at Rehman – that turns any form of 'attention' into harassment, explains Nieuwoudt.
But some people are oblivious to this.
That's why you need to make it clear to employees that if they should rather leave their colleagues in peace and not provoke them.
The best way to do so is to make sure all your employees attend a short session where the company harassment policy is read out.
You can even include the Gupta name-calling incident as an example.
Then, get them to sign that they've read the policy and attended a short training session on it.
This way, you at least have proof that your employees were warned on the company's harassment policy if you need to take action in future.
So make your company's harassment policy clear by explaining to your employees exactly what counts as verbal harassment.