Education News South Africa

Sexual harassment workshop in Cape Town

The University of Cape Town's faculty of law has stepped onto the sexual harassment minefield and will host a workshop to assist human resources staff and legal advisors dealing with this explosive issue in the workplace. The workshop was set up when it became clear that employers needed to revisit their sexual harassment policy in the face of recent judgements resulting in substantial awards to victims.

In March 2005 the Labour Court in Cape Town ordered a company to pay 24 month's salary and R10 000 in damages to a woman who had been fired after rejecting her employer's sexual advances - she had worked for the company for only three days.

The workshop will also deal with proposed new National Economic Development and Labour Council's Code of Good Practice on the Handling of Sexual Harassment Cases which redefines sexual harassment and refines procedures on managing such claims.

Professor Alan Rycroft from the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Faculty of Law and Rochelle le Roux from the University of Cape Town's Faculty of Law will facilitate the workshop. Rycroft, Le Roux and Thandi Orleyn co-authored a book, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Law, Policies and Processes, which was published in June 2005.

The workshop is targeted at Human Resources directors, Human Resources managers and Human Resources staff as well as company law advisors and managers who can be called on to deal with the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.

It will provide an understanding of sexual harassment; an overview and analysis of the 2005 Code; an overview of law on sexual harassment; guidelines for the proper management of a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace; an understanding of an employer's liability for sexual harassment; and guidelines on how to mediate a sexual harassment grievance in the workplace.

The workshop on Friday September 2 will take place in the Oliver Tambo Moot on the University of Cape Town's Middle Campus. The closing date for registration is Friday August 26. Contact Irèna Wasserfall at the Professional Education Project at or phone (021) 650 5621 or fax (021) 650 5662.

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