Thousands attended and celebrated this year’s national ceremony for Women’s Day in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal. It is a day to push awareness for the rights of women and a call to action against abuse, violence and harassment of South Africa’s women. But what about the other 364 days of the year? It’s important for business owners to take serious stock of whether they are backing or breaking down the progress of South African women in the workforce.
For female employees to thrive, the working environment and culture needs to be safe. Recent studies of 1000 workers conducted by Columinate Research Agency revealed that only 30% of women and 18% of men report being victims of unwanted sexual advances. And what’s more, a shocking 51% of workplaces do not have a clear sexual harassment policy in place. In July, The Temporary Employment Services Division (TESD) held their latest webinar to lead the support for modern work environments that safeguard the wellbeing of employees physically, mentally and emotionally. The TESD’s timely webinar presented current understanding of harassment prevention and procedures for workers and management to follow. The emphasis was placed on easily accessible channels to report misconduct and a company culture of zero tolerance towards any form of harassment.
Every business should devote their resources to ensuring compliance with latest legislation involving harassment. Turning a blind eye to these could result in not just legal ramifications, but potential criminal liabilities too. Staying alert to behaviour in the workplace which falls under harassment is crucial. This includes paying attention to online behaviour of staff on all levels. The TESD provides a free, downloadable harassment risk assessment guide to help employers and employees evaluate their specific circumstances. Click here to access it right now: https://tesd.org.za/2022/07/13/webinar-harassment-in-the-workplace-unpacking-the-new-legislation/
Knowledge must be followed by action! Employers are responsible for setting the tone. Keeping your own actions in check is only the start. Mistreatment of female employees should be unwelcomed in all facets of the business and solid harassment procedures need to be accessible for the modern workforce. Whether temporary or permanent, every worker should know who to approach and what to do if they experience or witness harassment in the workplace. Furthermore, only management levels can provide the environment which makes an employee feel comfortable with bringing these issues to their immediate attention with full confidence of complete confidentiality.