Tue | Aug 16, 2022

SAJ hosts successful Sexual Harassment Act (2021) workshop for management

Published:Tuesday | April 26, 2022 | 12:06 AM

The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) hosted its first of two virtual workshops on the Sexual Harassment Act (2021) last Thursday.

The three-hour seminar for managers and team leads was attended by two dozen individuals from various industries and led by corporate trainer and human resource consultant Wayne Robinson.

The session was aimed at assessing the readiness of workplaces and preparing them for the Government of Jamaica’s introduction of the Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021, which aims to protect all its citizens in the workplace, while renting property, conducting business or in any other daily interactions.

Under the law, workplaces and institutions are required to issue sexual-harassment policies and bring those policies to the attention of workers.

In his presentation, Robinson noted that “when the act hits the ground, you will have one year from that time, one year from whenever that time is, to become fully compliant”. He provided background for the Jamaican context, noting that implementing procedures to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace is still largely at the discretion of employers.

Robinson also outlined what is prohibited under the act, sharing that it includes sexual harassment of a worker by a superior and a prospective employer making it appear to a potential worker that the offer of employment or the terms on which employment is contingent on that person’s acceptance of or submission to sexual advances from the prospective employer. The act also provides protections for employees from a co-worker.

In defining sexual harassment, he said it is “the making of any sexual advance towards a person by another person which is reasonably regarded as unwelcome, offensive or humiliating by the persons towards whom the sexual advance is made”. This includes physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual advances, sexual suggestions, sexual innuendos and any other physical gesture. Verbal and non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature are included.

The session also included factors to consider when determining if conduct is sexual harassment, the duty of employers and institutions, procedure for filing a complaint, possible sanctions, and the benefits of the policy in workplaces.

The SAJ’s second of two Sexual Harassment Act (2021) workshops, this time targeting line staff, will be held today.