In line with their commitment to promoting gender equality and tackling gender-based violence, the Embassies of France and of the Netherlands in South Africa hosted an awareness event on sexual harassment in the workplace on 18 May 2021, in partnership with Easy Training and Mazars.
Hosted at Mazars South Africa, the event aimed at sensitizing and educating the corporate sector on the still prevalent issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. It was organized on the back of a video training course developed by Easy Training, with support from the Embassies of The Netherlands and France, and the French Institute in South Africa (IFAS).
30% of women and 18% of men report having been subjected to some form of unwanted sexual advances at work.
South African labour laws prohibit sexual harassment and any form of discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender, and sexual orientation. The Amended Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases in the Workplace, Notice 1357 of 2005, defines sexual harassment and sets out guiding principles for employers to inform their employees about their rights and implement procedures to prevent and deal with misconducts, which have been as “the most heinous misconduct that plagues a workplace” by the Labour Appeal Court.
Employers and employer organisations should establish clear sexual harassment policies and procedures to ensure a working environment in which the safety and dignity of employees is respected. They should include the issue of sexual harassment in their orientation, education and training programmes of employees. Yet not all are sufficiently equipped to do so adequately. Hence educating corporate about the significance of sexual harassment in the workplace, and how to deal with it, is critical.
The event was opened by H.E. Aurélien Lechevallier, Ambassador of France, and H.E. Han Peters, Ambassador of The Netherlands. It contributed to raising awareness amongst corporate stakeholders about sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the workplace. The programme facilitated by the Easy Training team, educated participants about what constitutes sexual harassment, and what are the duties of employers to prevent and deal with misconducts at work.
Building on a presentation by a team of legal practitioners from Fasken of the legal obligations and responsibilities that employers have to prevent and deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, it showcased solutions to ensure a working environment in which the safety and dignity of all employees is respected.
Watch the replay of the event: