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Sexual harrassment: How to provide a safe and healthy working environment for your employees

by , 26 February 2015
One of the major liabilities employers have towards employees is to create and ensure a safe and healthy working environment. This should be taken into account over the long term and not only with the occasion of inspections and various examination.

But it's not just creating this safe workplace that you need to consider. There is another health and safety risk aspect that each employer should keep in mind : Sexual harrassment.

Sexual harrassment is a BIG health and safety threat in your workplace
We also refer to making an environment safe when it comes about sexual harassment. Such happenings in the workplace must be prevented.

Several sources mention that in in the case of Media 24 Ltd & another v Grobler [2005] 7 BALLR 649 (SCA), an employee had been sexually harassed by a junior manager over a period of five months.

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At the time, the complainant was a 33-year-old secretary employed by the employer and the accused was a trainee manager employed by the employer.

In this particular case, the employer failed to deal with the allegations of sexual harassment seriously and expeditiously despite the fact that the complainant requested the employer to address the issue.

The employer stated that the matter happened outside the workplace. It said that since it it was a romatic affair, it had nothing to do with its area of activity nor should it have been considered as a case to present to the court.

However, the court found that there was a negligent breach by the employer of a legal duty to its employees to create and maintain a working environment in which, amongst other things, its employees were not sexually harassed by other employees in their working environment.

So don't just shrug off a sexual harrassment claim just because it happened outside of work. It's your duty to protect your employee from these safety risks.

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