A clarion call has gone out to this island’s employers to complete their workplace policy statement on sexual harassment, without undue delay.
It came last Friday as Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, addressed the launch of two publications related to the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act, 2017.
The event at the 3Ws Oval, The University of the West of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus was jointly coordinated by IMPACT Justice and the Labour Department, who were responsible for the texts titled: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – What you should know; and Model Workplace Policy Statement Against Sexual Harassment.
Minister Jordan told those gathered: “You now have the tools in your possession to do that. There is absolutely no excuse for non-compliance with this legal requirement especially now that you have the tools in your hands.”
Emphasizing there should be no disregarding of employee matters, he added: “Once tools are provided for employers the Ministry of Labour will not take kindly to employers treating issues that affect their employees who work with them as trite or as matters that can be put off while other things that are considered more important are looked after.
“Let me also suggest, and strongly so, that the workplace policy on sexual harassment should be used as a tool to ensure self-regulation by employers. This may be achieved by making sure that each employee is aware of what constitutes sexual harassment as well as how he/she should behave to avoid a claim being made.
“Finally, all employees must be encouraged to report every instance of sexual harassment with the employer committing to a thorough investigation of the claim and the taking (if the claim is valid) of firm, decisive action on completion of that investigation.”
Those gathered were further told such steps would help the Labour Ministry to realise the goal of “workplaces free of sexual harassment”, and make the work that had gone into the two documents worthwhile.
Commending IMPACT Justice and the Labour Department, Mr. Jordan encouraged all present to do their part to ensure workplaces were safe for persons of either gender. He stressed that, by extension, our community and society would also be safe and people would then be “free to live without the threat of having to live through sexual harassment”.