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Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct that results in the person feeling unsafe and fearing harm. Harm is defined as either physical, mental, or economic damage.
Harassment is recognized as unfair discrimination and is not legally tolerated in South Africa.
Every person has the right to be free of harassment in the workplace and as such every person may enjoy the protection offered to them by the law.
In addition to the protection offered to them by Labour Law, the Constitution also protects against Unfair Discrimination, especially when it occurs as a result of a person’s race, religion, sex, gender or age.
Harassment is a serious offence and provides victims with legal grounds to open cases against perpetrators.
In addition, it often leads to a decrease in productivity, absenteeism, and the resignation of other employees in a company and therefore needs to be dealt with swiftly and correctly.
If you are a victim of harassment in the workplace, the first step is to go to the HR department to lodge a formal complaint. This is not always possible due to the size of companies, or the perpetrator is in the HR department.
In these circumstances, we still recommend that you put your complaint in writing to record and document the perceived harassment – this should be given to your boss, a manager or someone at a higher level than yourself. Following this – an investigation should be opened and a warning should be given to the perpetrator.
Should you be a victim of Harassment and require legal assistance, the CCMA does have jurisdiction to assist with matters and can be done with or without an Attorney present. To increase your chance of being successful in your case, we do recommend booking a consultation with us to discuss your options, which can include but is not limited to going to the CCMA to lodge your complaint, settlement negotiations with the Company or going to the Labour Court.
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