Bosses can be held liable if they turn a blind eye to sexual harassment at work

Employers who trivialise sexual harassment complaints in the workplace could suffer serious legal consequences.

Employment law attorney Phetheni Nkuna says every employer has a statutory obligation to create a safe and healthy working environment for staff.

Read: 'I was just trying to keep my job' - women on fighting sexual harassment at work

Sexual harassment is legally defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, she explains.

Complaints can be reported by the victim or any other colleague who witnesses the unwelcome conduct.

Also read: 'The workplace is not pro-woman' - panelists discuss sexual harassment

Companies must have explicit sexual harassment policies, she adds. Standard disciplinary processes will not suffice.

Nkuna says employees should always interrogate a company's sexual harassment policy and procedure.

The policies must include protective measures for complainant, including confidentiality

There are liabilities and implications for employers who essentially turn a blind eye.

Phetheni Nkuna, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells

The Employment Equity categorises sexual harassment as a form of discrimination.

Phetheni Nkuna, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells

Zero tolerance is what I always advise my clients. It has to be stipulated in the policy that it will not be condoned or tolerates.

Phetheni Nkuna, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells

Listen to the entire discussion during the World of Work feature:


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