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CCMABusinessTech reports that an employer can be ordered to pay compensation for their failure to investigate complaints of sexual harassment adequately.

This was outlined in a recent CCMA case, which considered an employer’s liability in instances where it failed to comply with its statutory duties and its own sexual harassment policy by not adequately investigating an employee’s complaints about the improper conduct of a colleague. A senior employee claimed to have been sexually harassed by a colleague on two separate occasions. She reported the incidents to her manager, who advised her to contact the company’s Ethics Department. The employee subsequently completed a formal report of the incidents, and an investigation was initiated. Months later, she was suspended and issued with a notice to attend a disciplinary hearing. The disciplinary hearing found that the incidents “were insufficient to constitute sexual harassment for purposes of the Employment Equity Act (EEA). But, after the matter was refered to the CCMA, the commissioner agreed that the employee’s actions and experiences met the criteria for sexual harassment. “Section 60 of the EEA provides for liability of employers in instances where an employee, while at work, has contravened a provision of the EEA,” Werksmans Attorneys pointed out. Additionally, the EEA “provides that the employer must consult all relevant parties and must take the necessary steps to eliminate the alleged conduct and that the failure by the employer to take such steps will render the employer deemed to have also contravened that provision.” The commissioner concluded that the claims of harassment and inappropriate touching made against the employee were credible based on the employer’s failure to hold a disciplinary hearing promptly and to adhere to its own harassment policy. It also ignored a request for CCTV evidence and did not consider corroborating testimony from a witness. The employer was ordered to pay the employee an amount equivalent to two months’ compensation.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Seth Thorne at BusinessTech


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