Know Your Rights: Sexual Harrasment


Written by Jacque Kasoma

The Employment Act 2006 states that sexual harassment occurs when a request is made indirect or directly for sexual intercourse, sexual contact or any other form of sexual activity by an employee or employer.
The sexual harassment could be in the form of:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment (“Something for something”):
This refers to an express of implied promise of preferential treatment or express or implied threat of detrimental treatment related to the job. For example, a supervisor promises an employee a salary raise if she will go out on a date with him or tells an employee she will be fired if she doesn’t sleep with him.

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment:
This occurs when an employee is subjected to comments of a sexual nature, offensive sexual materials, or unwelcome physical contact as a regular part of the work environment. However, a single isolated incident will not be considered hostile environment harassment unless it is extremely outrageous

Measures to combat sexual harassment at the office:
1. Adopt a clear sexual harassment policy. (The Employment Act states that an employee who employs more than 25 people at the work place is required to have in place measures to prevent sexual harassment). That policy should: define sexual harassment, state zero tolerance for sexual harassment, state disciplinary measures for any wrongdoers, set out a clear procedure for filing sexual harassment complaints, state investigation procedures for any claims, and state zero tolerance for any retaliation against a sexual harassment complainant.
2. Train employees, supervisors or managers on:
What sexual harassment is and How to utilize the complaint procedure
3. Monitor your workplace. Keep the lines of communication open.
4. Take all complaints seriously. According to the Employment Act, an employee is entitled to lodge a complaint with the Labour office to deal with such complaints.


  1. I guess e’body is in one way or another guilty for inappropriate touching or looking at a colleague. But can I sue someone else for harrasing someone else in my presence?


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