Sexual harassment policies should be popularised in the country – CHRAJ Commissioner
The Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal, has stated that sexual harassment policies should be popularised in every institution to put checks on sexual harassment cases.
According to him, it is now a national requirement under the national anti-corruption plan that every institution should have such a policy because it has become the basis for protecting women in an era where sexual harassment is so pervasive.
Joseph Whittal made this known at a forum held by the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED) on the theme: “GenCED national dialogue on law and women’s right at the workplace,’’ held at the Holiday Inn hotel in Accra on Thursday.
Mr. Whittal stated that there are no specific policies for institutions or workplaces to protect women from sexual harassment, however, the Labour Act requires that the employer takes action against harassment at the workplace. “If a worker terminates employment contract because his/her employer did not take action against sexual harassment at the workplace, such termination amounts to unfair dismissal.”
He added that when people demand your bodily service before you get promotion or employment and there is no legal framework out of which you can challenge that person it makes most people vulnerable.
The Labour Act defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome, offensive or importunate sexual advances or request made by an employer or superior officer or a co-worker, whether the worker is a man or woman.
Esther Tawiah, Executive Director of Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), on her part added that the main motive behind the forum is to decide on the labour laws and women’s rights because over the years, women’s rights are being violated at the work places.
She gave instances where some women have had to sign bonds to pledge to hold plans of getting pregnant as long as they work there and some cases where national service personnel (women) were dismissed because they were pregnant, ‘’ these are violations of their rights as people and it is against the labour act.’’ She stated.