Helping managers deal with harassment in the workplace

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The UCT Institute of Development and Labour Law hosted the launch of a groundbreaking work by Rochelle Le Roux, Alan Rycroft and Thandi Orleyn. The work - "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Law Policies and Processes", published by LexisNexis Butterworths, provides the first comprehensive insight into this subject.

Alan Rycroft explained that the inspiration for the book arose from the papers that he and Le Roux presented at the LexisNexis Butterworths Labour Law Conference in 2004. At that stage, there were only 9 reported cases on sexual harassment. However, during the following year, the number of cases increased considerably and the need for the book became more certain.

The book follows a logical progression assisting those who are responsible for ensuring a workplace free of sexual harassment. There are chapters explaining: why sexual harassment is regarded as discrimination, the South African legal context, and the steps to follow - including policies and procedures - to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

The responsibility of the employer and possible financial impact upon a company make this book essential reading for all management and executives.

The 2005 Draft Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases in the Workplace issued by Nedlac is also included.

This work will assist those in the workplace to understand the true nature of sexual harassment.

As the Hon Ms Justice Roseni Allie explained in her speech, there has been an assumption that sexual harassment necessarily involves attraction of a sexual nature. As the decided cases demonstrate, sexual harassment often involves an attempt to exert power and to undermine those of a different gender or sexual orientation.

This understanding is essential for those participating in employment equity and transformation committees and forums.

sylvia hammond

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