Bureau of Gender Affairs available to assist employers with anti-sexual harassment policy
EMPLOYERS and institution heads are being advised that the Bureau of Gender Affairs is available to offer sensitisation sessions on the anti-sexual harassment policy which informed The Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021.
Principal director for gender affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Sharon Coburn Robinson said education of workers, clients, students, residents, wards, inmates, patients and members is the foundation of creating environments that are free of sexual harassment.
“The employer has that responsibility to make sure that they bring to the attention of all the workers that sexual harassment is a no-no and there’s a zero-tolerance approach to any form of sexual harassment and any form of discrimination in the workplace,” she told JIS News.
She noted that employers can also conduct workshops with staff members, particularly those who are new, and supervisors of varying levels.
The Act, which took effect on July 3, requires employers and institution heads to generate a sexual harassment policy within 12 months, in accordance with the Sexual Harassment Framework Document.
“That should be developed in collaboration with and through consultation with the members of the team, because they are the ones who will be using that as a framework,” Coburn Robinson said.
The policy should include a definition of sexual harassment that is consistent with the provisions of the Act and a statement to the effect that persons are entitled to a harassment-free environment.
“They can also create a grievance procedure that will say: ‘This is what I am holding up as a document that forms a part of the procedure in terms of how we treat cases when they come in, and persons in the space should know that they are protected against any form of sexual harassment and that if they make a complaint, that there are steps that the person in charge should take,” Coburn Robinson explained.
The policy should also inform persons of their right to protection of the information contained in complaints, and their right to seek redress from the 14-member tribunal appointed by the minister.
The legislation addresses concerns about sexual harassment that are employment related, occurring in institutions, or arising in the landlord and tenant relationship.
It also contains provisions for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, schools, correctional institutions, places of safety, nursing homes, medical and psychiatric facilities, among other places.
Employers and heads of institutions can contact the bureau to schedule sensitisation sessions at 876-754-8576-8 or email@example.com.