Gender violence in the Spotlight

The financial risks of ignoring sexual harassment claims

702 Afternoon Drive host Bongani Bingwa says one of the surprising aspects of the sexual harassment allegations against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men, is how many people say they knew and that it was an open secret.

Veerash Srikison, Advocate, Legal Dispute Resolutions says in a work environment it is possible that most co-workers are aware of sexual harassment complaints because the victims are likely to confide in their colleague.

There is no sense of surprise about the complainant - maybe there is a surprise about who the perpetrator is but that isn't rare as well.

Veerash Srikison, Advocate, Legal Dispute Resolutions

More people are likely to be ignored than believed because it makes everyone in the situation uncomfortable.

Veerash Srikison, Advocate, Legal Dispute Resolutions

Having to prove that you are sexually harassed falls on the complainant because it is the person who brings the complaint to the employer, says Srikison.

She goes on to say the risks involved in laying a complaint against a perpetrator includes labeling, victim shaming and even losing your job.

In South Africa, where we have the Employment Equity Act, the company is vicariously liable for the conduct of its employees.

Veerash Srikison, Advocate, Legal Dispute Resolutions

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