Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited under the Anti Gender Based Violence Act 2011. The Act defines harassment as engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces the fear of imminent harm or feelings of annoyance and aggravation in a person, including sexual contact without the consent of the person with whom the contact is made and making unwanted sexual advances; following, pursuing or accosting a person or making persistent, unwelcome communication with a person. It also includes watching, loitering outside or near a building where the harassed person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be; repeatedly making phone calls or using a third party to make phone calls to the harassed person, whether or not conversation ensues; repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other offensive objects or messages to the harassed person; or engaging in any other menacing behaviour.

Criminal Sanctions are provided under the Penal Code. A person convicted of sexual harassment at the workplace is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 3 years but not exceeding 15 years.

The Employment Equity and Equality Act prohibit sexual harassment. It includes conduct or contact of a sexual nature, such as the having physical contact, making advances, comments or innuendos without the consent of a person; being offensive, humiliating or intimidating to a person in a suggestive manner; or threatening or imposing a condition on a person for doing or undertaking anything or creating a hostile environment for an employee.

The Minister should develop and implement appropriate policy and procedures to eliminate sexual harassment. The said policy shall entitle a person who has been subjected to sexual harassment to raise a grievance and be guaranteed appropriate disciplinary procedures and action against the perpetrator. This Policy shall further entitle a person who has been subjected to sexual harassment to lodge a grievance with the Commission or an employer of the perpetrator where the conduct giving rise to the complaint has taken place at the workplace or in the course of being employed.

A person who has been subjected to sexual harassment need not have exhausted internal sexual harassment procedures before prosecution of the offence is commenced or civil proceedings are instituted.

Source: §3 of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act 2011; §137(A) of the Penal Code 1931, last amended in 2012; §2, 17, 39 & 40 of the Employment Equity and Equality Act No. 22 of 2015