June 15 Deadline For Sexual Harassment Policies

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Employers are being reminded that they have until June 15 to have their Sexual Harassment policies in place, as required under the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act.

Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resources Development, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, pointed this out during her recent address at a Site Safety Workshop, held by the Barbados Contractors’ Association and the Labour Department, at Warrens Office Complex.

Noting the Act was proclaimed on December 15, 2017, she reiterated that it states that employers must have completed the written policies and presented their employees with copies, within six months of its commencement.

Underscoring the importance of the legislation, the Labour Minister recommended that employers seek guidance from the appropriate channels.

“I know there may not be many women in the sector, and more and more women are being employed, but bear in mind that the policy is for the prevention not only of male-on-female harassment, but male-on-male, female-on-male, and all variations of sexual harassment. Just follow the information in the Schedule of the Act. The Labour Department will assist and the Barbados Employers’ Confederation as well as HR professionals can provide guidance,” Senator Byer Suckoo stated.

Section 4 (5) of the Act warns that business owners who fail to comply with the deadline are guilty of an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5,000, imprisonment of 12 months or both.

The Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act provides a framework for the reporting of such incidents by employees and a method of resolving these cases; as well as establishes a procedure for the hearing and determination of matters related to sexual harassment.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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