Harassment is the aggressive pressure or intimidation experienced by an individual or group of people. With the enactment of the new anti-harassment laws in South Africa, people are fully protected against harassment. Today we discuss harassment in relation to the workplace, women and children, and how the Anti-harassment Laws protect these sets of individuals.
This episode’s experts are Sheralyn Pieterse & Quintin Badenhorst, attornies at Jurgens Bekker Attorneys and Mr David Short, who is a Director at Fairbridges Wertheim and Becker, the oldest law firm in the Southern Hemisphere, standing at over 200 years old. They discuss:
- Harassment and what acts constitute harassment in terms of our laws.
- What are the provisions in these laws that address harassment?
- How do they protect people in the work place?
- What are the provisions in these laws that address harassment of women and children?
- How do they protect them?
- Where can one report harassment?
- Are there different organizations where types of harassment can be reported (e.g. specific organizations for the harassment against women and children which differs from that for workplace)?
- Is there a procedure which one must follow?
- How does domestic violence differ from harassment?
Several South African cases are discussed, looking into how the courts apply the new Anti-harassment Laws. The recent case held in Kwazulu-Natal of a ‘slanderous’ email accusing a manager of gender bias and how the courts unpacked the provisions of the anti-harassment laws is also talked about. The similarities between domestic violence and harassment was clarified.
“Harassment can broadly be defined as basically conducting yourself in an unreasonable manner, wherein you know, or have knowledge, or should have knowledge that your conduct would cause harm, which is defined as mental, psychological, physical and economic harm or incite the reasonable believe that harm would be caused to another. The acts of harassment are categorized into basically watching, following, pursuing or loitering outside somebody’s place of residence, their work place, a place where they may study, or even a place where they may just be at the time. The second act of harassment as defined by the legislation is if you communicate through verbal or electronic communication with somebody that’s directed at their complainants or a related person, whether or not conversation ensues. The last one is to actually send or deliver written communication, like a letter, fax, emails or even a package, which could even be flowers, to a complainant or a related person’s house or workplace, or leave it there for a person to see.”
Have you ever been harassed or know of such incidents, leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you!