HomeNewsAlign labour laws to curb sexual harassment, Parly told

Align labour laws to curb sexual harassment, Parly told

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BY VANESSA GONYE/ HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

PARLIAMENT has been urged to align labour laws to ensure that they deal with sexual harassment of women at the workplace.

This was said yesterday by Emthonjeni Women’s Forum director Sikhathele Matambo during a workshop in Harare on a draft Labour Amendment Bill where she said there was need for labour laws alignment to end abuse of females.

She said there had been more complaints of a sexual nature, where mostly women were at the receiving end of abuse by their male counterparts at work.

“We were basically submitting a proposal of a draft Bill to amend the Labour Act, taking into cognisance that section 8 of the Labour Act refers to sexual harassment as an unfair labour practice,” Matambo said.

“So we need the Labour Act to be very comprehensive in its recognition and handling of sexual harassment at workplaces,” she said.

Matambo said the amendments should ensure that the Labour Act speaks to issues of sexual harassment broadly, so that all employees know that they can be protected against sexual abuse by the Labour Act.

Section 8(a) of the Labour Amendment Act criminalises sexual harassment at the workplace. It states that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, creates and intimidating and a hostile or offensive environment at the workplace.

“The draft Bill seeks to improve the provisions concerning sexual harassment as an identified form of unfair labour practice, and to provide more specific provisions to this practice and give it the more specific attention it deserves,” she said.

According to Emthonjeni Women’s Forum, the draft Labour Amendment Bill, if enacted, would strengthen the provisions of the Labour Act in addressing sexual harassment and stipulating the penalties related to it.

“This draft Bill to amend the Labour Act (Chapter 28:1), will principally to address the prevention, elimination and management of sexual harassment that pervades the world of work guided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO Convention 190), and its recommendations on eliminating and preventing violence and harassment in the world of work,” reads the memorandum to the draft Labour Amendment Bill.

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