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Violence and Harassment get into Government Gazette

On 20 August 2020 the South African government published a draft code of good practice for the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment. This draft policy, published by the Minister of Employment and Labour, focuses on numerous elements pertaining to violence and harassment, many of which are extremely relevant to the business.

One area that the business has to pay attention to is around sexual violence and harassment. This is defined as directly or indirectly engaging in conduct which the perpetrator knows isn’t welcome and is considered offensive to the complainant, or which they find uncomfortable or interferes with their work. The same applies to racial violence and harassment where it creates a hostile or intimidating environment and excludes a person who is considered to be associated with a specific group.

Draft code is far more detailed

The draft code is far more detailed and includes information around racist verbal and non-verbal conduct, remarks, abusive language, racist name calling, offensive behaviour, gestures and racist cartoons, memes or insinuations.

Companies need to take preventative measures to stop and remove harassment and to create programmes designed to promote awareness and prevent this type of behaviour. It’s also worth considering investing into programmes that treat and care for victims and that evaluate behaviours and practices within the organisation.

The code can be found in Government Gazette 43630 and comments should be submitted before 20 October 2020.

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