Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

The Botswana Public Service (Amendment) Act, No. 14 of 2000, (in a newly added section 31A) classifies sexual harassment of a public officer by a co-worker or by a supervisor as misconduct. No such provision is available under the Employment Act.

The Code of Conduct includes within the definition of discrimination, harassment of an employee whether of a sexual nature of not. Sexual harassment has been defined an unwanted conduct of sexual nature. The unwanted nature of the act distinguishes it from consensual behavior.

An employee who is harassed can resign and claim compensation for constructive dismissal, sue for damages for breach of contract or an invasion of privacy, or interdict the harasser or the employer. Furthermore, the employee can lawfully discipline or dismiss an employee who is found to have been guilty of sexual harassment.

The workplace is to be free from sexual harassment. The employer is to respect the employee’s right to dignity, privacy and equity, and the employees are to respect the right to dignity, privacy and equity of other employees. Furthermore, an employer is to create and maintain a working environment where the dignity of each employee is respected. A workplace is to be maintained in such a way that the victims of sexual harassment do not fear reprisals or feel their grievances are being ignored. For this, the employer can follow certain steps such as all employees being refrained from committing sexual harassment, a working environment is to be maintained where sexual harassment is unacceptable, that those dealing with the business are not subjected to sexual harassment by any of the employees, and that appropriate action is taken when sexual harassment does occur in the workplace.

Source: Rule 3 of the Code of Conduct and Rule 1,3, 5 of Code of Good Practice: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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